Federal High Court in Abuja has insisted that its order halting the implementation of the recent price increase announced by digital satellite television services provider, Multi Choice (DSTV), remains.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba made the clarification yesterday following a complaint by counsel to the Federal Government, Babatunde Irukera that the company had refused to obey the order made ex-parte on August 20.
The judge said: “My order is in force. I believe it is in force until it is set aside. My order has to be obeyed. That is my position.”
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) sued on behalf of the Federal Government, challenging the propriety of the price increase announced by Multi Choice for its services.
When the case was called, Multi Choice’s lawyer, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), sought an adjournment to enable him respond to a fresh application served on him the previous day by the plaintiff.
Irukera sought the permission of the court to bring to its notice recent development in the case since the court made its order on August 20.
He said since the order was made, the defendant (Multi Choice) “has declined to comply with the order of this court. The refusal of the defendant is express not circumstantial, but in a public statement, in which it characterised the order of this court as an affront.
“The defendant has repeatedly said to subscribers, who tried to renew their subscriptions, pursuant to the order of this court that it (the defendant) has no intention of obeying the order of this court. That is a serious issue.”
Irukera, the director-general of the CPC, referred to the decision of Supreme Court in the case of Ezem vs Menakaiya 2018 9 NWLR Pt 1623 page 133 at 136, where the court said orders of court, whether right or wrong, must be obeyed until it is set aside.
Onigbanjo interjected to query the propriety of Irukera’s submission. He said the claim by Irukera that his client (Multi Choice) disobeyed the court’s order could only be properly brought to court’s attention through valid application and affidavit, to which the defendant could also respond.
When asked by the judge whether the court could take judicial notice of media reports in relation to reports about Multi Choice’s reaction to the court’s order, Onigbanjo said “the court cannot take judicial notice of what the media has said.
“The media can publish anything and even give spin to any information. This is an era of fake news. Let them bring this information to the court’s attention appropriately by presenting evidence before the court for us to respond appropriately.”
Justice Dimgba agreed with Onigbanjo that the plaintiff should file a proper application, bringing to the court’s attention, the information about the said statement by Multi Choice allegedly querying the competence of the order made by the court on August 20.
The judge adjourned till September 3 for further hearing.