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Court Orders Prosecution of Journalists for Contempt in Metu’s Case

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Olisa Metuh, former national publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

Justice Okon Abang, presiding judge in the ongoing trial of Olisa Metuh, former national publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has ordered Abubakar Malami, attorney general of the Federation and minister of Justice, to arraign three TV Presenters for anchoring a programme where prejudicial statements were allegedly made relating to Metuh’s case, pending in court

 

Justice Okon Abang gave the order on Tuesday after viewing the recorded programme in open court, where he held that the conduct of Chamberlain Usoh, Gimba Umar and Anneota Egbe, the three anchors of channels television breakfast show, Sunrise Daily,  were contemptuous

He directed that the presenters be docked along with Ben-Chuks Nwosu, their guest on the programme, a lawyer in Metuh’s legal team, before any court of  coordinate jurisdiction  under section 133(4) of the Criminal Code, in order to determine whether the conversation held on the programme that day were prejudicial or not , as well as to make the media outfit explain why it engaged in a matter pending before the court.

 

The court also called on the Disciplinary Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to determine if Nwosu’s conduct was in violation of Rule 33 of the Rules of professional conduct of legal practitioners, 2007.

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The court however could not order any action against Johnson Ojogbane, an EFCC prosecutor, who was equally featured in the TV program through a telephone conversation

 

Justice Abang further vacated an earlier order declaring the closure of Metuh’s case due to his unexplained absence and his counsels from court.

 

He consequently adjourned to July 4 to enable Metuh testify for himself after calling 11 witnesses.

 

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StarTimes Boosts Nigerian Economy with $220m Investment, Pays $25m Tax

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StarTimes, a direct-to-home pay-tv service said it has invested over $220 million in Nigeria, in the last eight years to boost entertainment and enrich the country’s television viewers’ experiences.

 

Mr. Joshua Wang, who represented the CEO of NTA-STAR TV, said Startimes commenced operation in 2010 in Nigeria through NTA-Star TV, adding that it has actively promoted leading Chinese programmes in local languages, like Hausa and Yoruba.

 

Wang, a director of the organisation, stated this in Abuja at the celebration of Chinese Film Festival and cinema show of the “Operation Red Sea Movie”.

 

He said, “So far, we have invested $220m in Nigeria, developed a network of nearly 3,000 distributors in the country, and developed around four million subscribers. We are actively involved in corporate social responsibility and have paid a total of $25m in tax, recruited more than 1,300 local staff, 97 per cent of whom are Nigerians.”

 

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture, represented by Grace Isu Gekpe, permanent secretary, said, “Cultures are what make countries unique. I believe we will understand each other’s culture better if we have the opportunity to watch movies from both cultures.”

 

Mr. Lin Jing, Charge d’affair of the Chinese Embassy to Nigeria pledged that the Chinese Government is committed to the agreements reached with Nigeria and other African countries to bring rapid development to the continent.

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NCC Reaffirms Suspension of COSON’s Operating License

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Mr. Afam Ezekude, director general of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), has reaffirmed to stakeholders and the general public that the Operating License of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (Ltd/Gte) (COSON) is and remains suspended until further notice.

Mr. Afam Ezekude disclosed this while responding to recent social media publications made by COSON claiming that the Federal High Court had ordered the NCC to suspend all actions, proceedings and processes relating to the suspension of its license and the freezing of its bank account.

He stressed that the commission has not been served with any order of the Federal High Court as regards the suspension of the operating license of COSON, and is not aware of any such order.

The DG noted that the said publication did not disclose the particulars of the case in which the Order was made such as, the suit number of the case; the Judge of the Federal High Court that made the order nor the date that the order was made and therefore urged stakeholders and the general public to disregard COSON’s claims.

Speaking further, Mr. Ezekude disclosed that following the suspension of COSON’s operating license by the Commission in April 2018, some members of COSON instituted an action in suit No.FHC/EN/CS/58/2018 at Enugu division of the Federal High Court against the Commission and some of its officials challenging the suspension of the operating license of COSON.

In a preliminary objection to the suit filed by the Commission, the court presided over by Justice Liman struck out the Commission as a party in that case on June 11, 2018. No order was made against the Commission.

Similarly, a case was instituted by some members of COSON purporting to act on behalf of the society in suit No. FHC/L/CS/6006/18 (Copyright Society of Nigeria & Ors Vs Efe Omoregbe & 7 Ors) at the Lagos division of the Federal High Court with the Commission listed as a defendant in the case.

The matter which is currently pending before Justice Seidu has been adjourned to September 26, 2018. No order has so far been made against the Commission in that case.

By virtue of the suspension which is still in force, the DG, reiterates that COSON is not entitled to carry out any functions of a Collecting Society; to wit; soliciting, negotiating for copyright license; or collecting royalties for and on behalf of owners of Copyright in Music and Sound Recordings; until otherwise determined.

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Again, Court Rules Against Multichoice Over Tariff Hike

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A judge, Nnamdi Dimgba, in Abuja has rejected an appeal by Multichoice Nigeria against an interim order prohibiting any increase in its DStv or GOtv subscription rates.

Multichoice Nigeria had on August 24 filed an appeal against the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja stopping it from increasing the subscription rates to its cable television services. The order was given on August 20.

The restraining order was issued in respect of Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/894/18 brought before the court by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) in the light of the public outcry raised.

In his order, Mr Dimgba said the interim injunction restrains Multichoice Nigeria or its agents and representatives from “continuing the implementation of any increase in subscription rates or price review policy imposing increased charges and costs on the consumers pending the determination of the motion on notice.”

Besides, the court also restrained DSTV from “further carrying on or continuing any conduct or activity which interferes with or has effect of circumventing the outcome of ongoing investigations by the CPC into the company’s compliance or non-compliance with the February 16, 2016 order pending the determination of the motion on notice”.

When the appeal was made, the CPC explained that the order stopping implementation of the new tariffs will subsist till the appeal has been heard and ruling given by the court.

This means that the subscription tariffs for Dstv and Gotv ought not to have increased but consumers have been paying the increased tariffs since August.

Under the new price regime, the company said the Premium package subscribers pay about 7.5 per cent more (about N15,800) from about N14,700 every month.

Also, their Compact Plus customers still pay N10,650, from N9,900; Compact bouquets, N6,800, from N6,300, while the family package was increased from N3,800 to N4,000, with Access from N1,900 to N2,000

On Monday, during the court hearing, the judge also refused the application by MultiChoice to adjourn the matter indefinitely.

When asked of the measures taken to ensure Multichoice’s compliance, Babatunde Irukera, director general, CPC, said CPC still holds the position that consumers should be paying the old tariff.

“However, the council’s understanding is that Multichoice is not complying with that order of court so that’s why it was important for the court to agree to clarify the situation,” he said.

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