The House of Representatives has set up an ad hoc committee of the House to investigate the tariff increment by satellite television service providers and their refusal to operate ‘pay per view’.
They also resolved to write the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to test the Chief Executive Officer of Multichoice Nigeria, Mr John Ugbe, and possibly quarantine him.
They took the decision in Abuja on Wednesday following the failure of the CEO to appear before it.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr Uyime Idem, at the hearing, recalled how the House set up and mandated the panel on March 17, 2020, to investigate DSTV, owned by Multichoice, and other cable TV providers in Nigeria.
Idem said the House, again on June 2, passed another resolution, mandating the panel to invite DSTV to explain its tariff increment on June 1.
He said while the panel wrote to DSTV to invite the CEO, the firm replied to explain that “based on circumstances beyond their control, they could not come for the meeting.”
The lawmaker said, “Today is the date they rescheduled the meeting to, that they are going to appear here and make presentation before this committee, and explain to Nigerians the way forward on the implementation of ‘Pay As You Go’ and the recent price hike. Unfortunately this morning, as we were about to start the meeting, we received another letter from DSTV.”
A member of the committee, Mr Julius Pondi, moved a motion that “the NCDC should locate the CEO of Multichoice Nigeria, John Ugbe, and make sure he is tested for COVID-19, since he alluded that he is having cough and not feeling well, and (the NCDC should) report back to the House within four days.”
Ruling on the motion, the chairman directed the clerk to the committee to “communicate the decision of this committee to the Director-General of NCDC (Dr ChikweIhekweazu).”
Another member, Ossy Prestige, alleged that the DSTV boss was shunning the summons by the panel.
Punch correspondent sighted the two letters from Multichoice to the committee.
Ugbe, in response to the first invitation by the committee, had urged the lawmakers to reschedule his appearance to Wednesday.
The second letter written by the Head, Regulatory Affairs, Multichoice, Gozie Onumonon, on behalf of the CEO, partly read, “We regret to inform the committee that we would be unable to appear before it today due to a sudden illness of our Chief Executive Officer, after arriving in Abuja yesterday for this meeting. Because of the abundance of caution needed to be taken in line with the current pandemic, we believe it is necessary that the meeting be deferred until he has regained his health and is cleared by his medical doctor.”