Despite issuing a widely circulated press statement condemning the August 20 court order restraining it from increasing its prices, the lawyer representing MultiChoice Nigeria, owners of DSTV, on Tuesday denied the statement issued by his client.
The firm, in the statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES by its spokesperson, Caroline Oghuma, described the order as an “affront to free economy.” It also indicated it would not go back on the charges which has been widely condemned by its subscribers.
However, in a volte-face, speaking during a court hearing on the matter, the firm’s lawyer, N. J Onibanjo, described the media reports as “another example of fake news in Nigeria.”
“With respect, My Lord is not even supposed to respond to such a thing,”the lawyer said, falsely putting the blame on the media. “My client is not a publisher of any newspaper. How can my client take responsibility for what was done by a third party?
“The challenge within the media now is the spread of fake news. The media owners are free to publish what they want.”
MultiChoice’s original statement was issued days after the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court restrained the firm from implementing a proposed price increase for its services.
According to the statement, MultiChioce Nigeria submitted that its intention to appeal the court order meant that parties would maintain the status-quo before the order of court was made.
“We believe that the order is an affront to the free market economy and we have now filed a Notice of Appeal and an application for stay of execution, pending the hearing of the Appeal. The CPC has been accordingly served with the requisite processes.
“In light of the application for a stay of execution, the status quo therefore prevails,” the firm said indicating the new charges would continue despite the court ruling.
After receiving the mail, PREMIUM TIMES contacted Mrs Oghuma who confirmed the statement.
She (in the statement) said the company would maintain the status of things before the August 20 court order, ”because of the application challenging the order by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba.”
However responding to a statement by the plaintiff’s lawyer, Babatunde Irukera, on the published response by MultiChoice, Mr Onibanjo said the statement made by Mr Irukera should not be taken seriously since his client is independent of publications by the media.
After listening to the counsel, the judge adjourned the case to September 3.