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Lawan warns Multichoice Nigeria against going ahead with tariffs hike

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The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has warned Multichoice Nigeria not to dare their host country by going ahead with the planned hike in tariffs of it’s products while the matter is yet being investigated.

Inaugurating a seven-member adhoc Committee of the Senate headed by the Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, the Senate President warned that no foreign operators in the country should take Nigeria for granted.

The committee was set up by the Senate on Wednesday, 30th April, 2022 against the backdrop of an announcement of tariff hike by the Multichoice pay TV service provider, DStv.

“No operator should take us for granted. We mean business. We want you to be here. Nigeria always provide 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.

“Meanwhile, stay action. No increase and that is to say don’t dare our country. No increase in tariffs,” the Senate President warned.

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Explaining the rationale behind setting up of the committee Lawan said, “The reason for setting up this adhoc Committee is well known and this is in consistent with what we are supposed to do as members of parliament, as distinguished senators.

“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.

“I’m not going to pre-empt the outcome of this investigation but one thing is clear, that the Senate is prepared to go all the way to unearth the exact situation that is happening with respect to how much Nigerian consumers of the DStv or Pay-TV tariffs are charged and how does that compare to other jurisdictions in other countries.

“DStv, one of the operators, has shown the tendency to increase the tariffs without due consultation with stakeholders and we feel this is not the right way to go about it and therefore we even need to find out whether or not what we are paying already is not out of the roof and different from what other countries are charged.

“So your task as a committee is to look at the issue very dispassionately with a very clear mind and focus on what we need to know.

“The Consumers Protection Council and other agencies of government and even NGOs and CSOs 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.

“The report, at the end of the day, is supposed to be a report that will guide the Senate to take resolutions that will ensure that Nigerian consumers of the products, Pay-TV, are fully protected but at the same time that will not emasculate the businesses. We want to see a win-win situation for both consumers and operators.

“But let me be very clear at this point, we are going to take on any operators who decide to charge Nigerians tariffs that are not charged anywhere outside this country.

“I also want to add here that any operators, especially foreign, who do not want to respect and obey our laws should leave. Afterall, it is only in this country that most of these operators behave the way they do, whether they are telecoms or DStv or whatever.

“In other climes, they do better. They respect the consumers. They respect the laws of the countries where they operate. It is only in Nigeria where they don’t give us any respect and I think we will take them on.

“I pray that they do the right thing so that they will not run into any trouble of fighting the injustice. What happened in the past should provide us lessons and issues that we should look at.

“Infact if Nigerian consumers were extraordinarily cheated, they should be paid back. They do that in other countries. So I hope that all operators will cooperate with this committee. That when they are invited to appear before the committee they will appear.”

Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi said “the investigation into the activities of the Pay-TV service providers is long overdue as their activities, over time has reaped off Nigerians of their hard earned income.

“It is mind burgling that barely two years of the price hike by the 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 authourities is a thing of great concern that calls for questioning.

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

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Legislature

NASS Clerk wades into DSS, Staff face-off, tells security operatives to be civil

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***Reads riot act

Apparently piqued by the commotion caused by the alleged brutality of some top staff of the National Assembly on Friday by the personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS), the Clerk to the National Assembly(CNA), Alhaji Sani Magaji Tambawal has read the riot act to all security operatives in the complex.
He charged them to be civil in carrying out their duties at all times.
A statement signed by Birma Shuaibu Maina, Secretary, Human Resources and Staff Development on behalf of the CNA pointed out that the top management of the National Assembly was aware of the unfortunate incident that happened on Friday, 17th May, 2024.
It further said the CNA and top management team visited Comrade Odo at the National Assembly Clinic and immediately called for an emergency meeting between the Management, Security Personnel and Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) officials during which the “unfortunate incident” was deliberated upon and unanimously resolved as follows:
“That DSS and other Security operatives should work in harmony with the Sergeant-At-Arms.
“All security operatives within the National Assembly Complex should be civil in the discharge of their duties.
“All members of Staff should always display their I. D. cards for easy identification”.
Finally, the CNA and the top management appealed to the staff to be “calm, peaceful and law abiding as the situation is under control”.
It will be recalled that a face-off between the DSS and some staff of the National Assembly Friday, led to the brutalization of two senior staff of NASS leading to demonium at the complex

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Legislature

Natasha makes case for local industries development

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***Pays courtesy call on SMEDAN DG

The Chairman Senate Committee on Local Content, Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, on Thursday, made a strong case for the development of Local industries through creation of a market for local manufacturers rather than just training them in their existing skills.


She spoke when she met with the Director General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Charles Odii, to make case for the growth of local factories and the manufacturing of made-in-Nigeria products.

The meeting, also attended by Senator Ede Dafinone, Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Content, focused on developing local content, investing in local manufacturers, and strengthening homemade products to boost the economy and create jobs for youth.


Senator Akpoti-Uduaghan emphasised the need to support local manufacturers and promote made-in-Nigeria products, highlighting the potential of local products like handwoven fabrics (popularly known as Kitipa in Ebira parlance), which can be used to produce shoes for military, paramilitary, and Corps members. This, she noted, would reduce importation and boost the economy.

“You cannot teach a local person how to make shea butter or black soap. They already know it. But what they need is market and access to finance.
“Local manufacturers need training on how to access markets and brand their products for international export. They already possess the skills, but need guidance on branding and marketing,” she stated.

Senator Akpoti-Uduaghan cited examples of successful international partnerships, such as the French cosmetics company L’occitane and Burkina Faso’s Shea butter industry, and Zara and Ethiopia’s cotton industry. She suggested that Nigeria could similarly partner with international brands like Prada or Louis Vuitton to boost its leather industry, creating revenue and downstream sectors.

The lawmaker criticised the government’s ‘50,000-era enterprise’ initiative, stating that it does not effectively support local industries.

She also emphasised the need for agencies like SON and NAFDAC to be more accessible and responsive to small-scale businesses.

By harnessing the local content of every part of the country, growing and strengthening it to produce in commercial quantity for local consumption and export, Senator Akpoti-Uduaghan believes that Nigeria can create more jobs, reduce importation, and boost the economy.

In his remarks, the SMEDAN boss promised to create a viable market for local content industry by working closely with the National Assembly to encourage local manufacturers to boost the local products that are needed in the country and valued outside the shores of Nigeria.

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Legislature

Senate okays establishment of North West Development Commission

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The Senate has approved the North West Development Commission (NWDC) bill to address the challenges facing the seven states in the geopolitical zone.

The approval came after the consideration and adoption of the report of the Committee on Special Duties on the NWDC (Establishment).

The bill to establish the commission was sponsored by t

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau Jibrin and 20 other senators from the seven states in the North West geopolitical zone sponsored the bill to establish the commission
Chairman of the committee, Sen. Shehu Lawan Kaka (APC, Borno Central) moved the motion for the presentation and consideration of the report, while Sen. Ireti Kingibe (LP, FCT) seconded it.
Presenting the committee’s report, Senator Kaka pointed out that the intent and purpose of the bill are well structured and strategically streamlined for the socio-economic development of the North West geopolitical zone of the country.

He added that the commission’s establishment would bring the federal government closer to the North Western states and meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people.
He, therefore, urged the Senate to pass the bill.

When the bill was put to vote by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau I Jibrin, who presided over the plenary, the senators unanimously supported it.

In his remarks, Senator Barau commended his colleagues for supporting the bill’s passage.

When established, he said the commission would address the challenges facing the geopolitical zone and, by extension, the country.

Describing the North West as the food basket of the country, he said the commission, when established, will work towards the restoration of infrastructure destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents and bandits in the region.

” So if we are serious about ensuring we have food and for food security to be attained in this country, we must provide the necessary infrastructure for all our key sectors to thrive well.

“This commission is needed. I commend you all for supporting this; no one said no. Everybody supported this idea. So, now we are pushing the Bill to the House of Representatives for their approval and then to Mr President for assent,” he said.

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