…Demand release of arrested staff
By Egufe Yafugborhi – Port Harcourt
The Association of Cable Operators of Nigeria (ACON) declared Tuesday to sue the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFFC, following the raid by the commission on operations of three of its members.
ACON in a public complaint yesterday in Port Harcourt, alleged that Saturday’s invasion of the Multipoint Microwave Distribution Systems (MMDS) of CANTv, MetroTv and CTL by the EFCC in the Rivers state capital, left nine staff arrested, equipment dismantled and carted away.
ACON National Chairman, Kunle Afolabi, who expressed the body’s anger also accused the anti-graft agency of playing the script of a foreign competitor in the cable television business to stifle indigenous operators and induce monopoly in Nigeria.
He said, “In commando style, EFCC invaded the Headends of CANTv, MetroTv, and CTL, ordering staff on duty to lie down, seized their phones, forcibly dismantled and carted away transmission equipment along with the staff of the three stations.
“By prompting of a subscription collecting firm, EFCC raided these operators in Port Harcourt last Saturday. Ensuring maximum damage to our members and without competition, they can now solely show EPL matches. This has been Multichoice/DSTV’s business model and strategy.
“MMDS operators are licensed by the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, all over the country, serving the middle class and others at the lower limits who cannot afford both the low entry and subscription fees to Nigerians for over two decades ago.
“We have been paying license fees to the regulator, NBC, as well as two and a half percent on turnover. They (detained employees) should be released. We will go to court and ensure those staff arrested illegally enforce their rights.”