Tribunal adjourns hearing on jurisdiction to May 5

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A three-man Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCP) tribunal sitting in Abuja has adjourned the hearing on its jurisdiction to entertain the matter brought against MultiChoice Nigeria to May 5.

The tribunal announced the adjournment, on Monday, following a complaint by Festus Onifade, a lawyer, and the Coalition of Consumers of Nigeria that MultiChoice had violated the panel’s March 30 interim order that the pay-television company should revert to old prices.

MultiChoice’s lawyers, quoting a series of legal authorities, had countered the submission that the company was in violation of the tribunal’s order, having challenged its jurisdiction on March 31.

They argued that the next course of action by the tribunal was to hear the application challenging its jurisdiction. The FCCPC, second respondent in the matter, also agreed with the submission by MultiChoice’s counsel that the next step is the hearing on the company’s application on jurisdiction.

The tribunal, in its ruling, agreed and adjourned the matter to May 5 for hearing of the application on jurisdiction.

Onifade, a legal practitioner and Coalition of Nigeria Consumers, on behalf of himself and others, had on March 30, prayed the tribunal for an order restraining MultiChoice from increasing the prices of its services, effective April 1, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed on March 30. The tribunal granted the ex-parte motion, directing parties to maintain status quo antebellum, which prompted the March 31 challenge to its jurisdiction by MultiChoice.

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