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Pay-TV Tariffs: Lawan cautions Multichoice Nigeria to stay action

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The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has cautioned Multichoice Nigeria not to dare Nigeria by going ahead to hike the tariff on its products while the matter is being investigated.

He gave the warning on Tuesday in Abuja while inaugurating a seven-member Ad hoc Committee of the Senate headed by the Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi, investigate circumstances around the proposed hike.

Lawan urged the Pay-TV to stay action by not increasing the tariff.

“No increase. And that is to say don’t dare our country. No increase in tariffs,” Lawan cautioned.

He cautioned that no foreign operators in the country should take Nigeria for granted.

It was reported that the committee had been set up by the Senate on Wednesday, March 30, against the backdrop of an announcement of tariff hike by the Multichoice Pay Tv service provider, DSTV.

It was however officially inaugurated on Tuesday, April 12.

Lawan said, “No operator should take us for granted. We mean business. We want you to be here. Nigeria always provides the climate for you to do your businesses, but don’t abuse the laws of our country.

“Our consumers here are people who are innocent and we are prepared to protect them.

“When the legitimate interests of our people are threatened, we are supposed to ensure that we protect them.

“It has been the practice of many companies, especially foreign companies, operating in Nigeria to treat the Nigerian consumers of their products in a different way and manner that is not consistent with global best practices.”

He urged members of the committee to handle the issue very dispassionately with a very clear mind.

“The Consumer Protection Council and other agencies of government and even non-governmental organisations and civil society organisations are supposed to attend this kind of investigation.

“We need to know what roles actually such government institutions established for the purposes of protecting Nigerian consumers perform. What are their problems if they are not doing well.”

Earlier, Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Abdullahi, said investigation into the activities of the Pay-Tv service providers was long overdue as their activities, over time had ripped Nigerians off their hard-earned incomes.

“It is mind boggling that barely two years after a price hike by Multichoice, which was followed by a big uproar by Nigerians, comes another unexpected increment without proper consultation with critical stakeholders.

“This incessant hike in tariff without recourse to constituted authorities is a thing of great concern that calls for questioning.

“This investigation is an opportunity to right the wrongs and bring these service providers to operate within the confines of the law as obtainable outside the shores of the country,” he said.

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Naomi Sharang

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