Yesterday it was Remita that was on the edge of the senate’s chopping axe, it however now appears that the senate is on a multiple probe mission. This time, it turned in the direction of Multichoice Nigeria — a subsidiary of South African-based Multichoice Africa, owners of DSTV — over alleged unwholesome practices, unreasonable subscription hikes across their various bouquets, which have led to growing public complaints and petitions.
While adopting a two-prayer motion moved by Senator Isah Misau (APC Bauchi Central) titled “Concern on Unwholesome Practices by Multichoice Nigeria,” (DSTV), the Senate yesterday directed the Committees on Information and Trade and Investment to investigate and consider summoning the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC). The lawmaker explained that the complaints include arbitrary increase in the subscription charges, refusal to adopt the pay as you use model applicable in other climes where Multichoice operates, amongst others.
According to Misau, it is imperative to intervene with a view to addressing the perceived high handedness of the pay TV company. He also explained that the motion is of public interest as football loving Nigerians follow the English Premier League (EPL) on DSTV with the company enjoying the monopoly of broadcast in the country.
Senate President Bukola Saraki, noted that “we must play our role to ensure that we protect Nigerians and ensure that the best global practices are what is happening in our own country so I would want the committees as directed to look into the matter particularly to ensure that the CPC played the role they should play in ensuring that the rights of Nigerians are always protected.”
The senate however ended with a mandate on the Committee on senate Information to organise a public hearing for all stakeholders including relevant civil societies to foster a way forward.