By Favour Nnabugwu
The Director-General of the Consumer Protection Council, Mrs. Dupe Atoki yesterday blamed the ineffective use of the Council’s enabling legislation on the flagrant display of impunity by businesses and multinationals in the country. Atoki while addressing members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) at the mentorship and business development programme in Abuja said the council was able to reduce the level of consumer abuse and in curbing the excesses of business owners and multinationals with the prosecutory powers of the Council’s Act.
She noted that the adoption of sector by sector intervention by her leadership in addressing consumer abuses has had widespread positive effects in the sectors, stating that the Council’s investigation was on-going in the banking, hospitality, electricity and aviation sectors noted that food and beverage as well as satellite television sectors had been successfully undertaken.
She further hinted that “interventions in other problematic sectors will also be undertaken as we progress in order to alleviate the suffering of consumers”, stating that the strategy became inevitable in view of the widespread consumer abuses in the country.
According to her, “In view of the myriads of consumer complaints in various sectors, it became apparent that the resolution of individual complaints alone will not make the desired impact”, pointing out that “sectoral intervention was identified as a major strategy for arresting systemic irregularities and modifying the behaviour of firms for faster and widespread resolution of consumer complaints.”
Atoki went on to say that, “Interventions in the food and beverage and satellite television sectors have drastically reduced the quantum of complaints in those sectors and conferred some benefits on consumers.” The CPCboss asserted that some of the challenges facing the agency, prior to her assumption of office, such as low level of consumer awareness; consumer apathy; impunity of businesses; brick walling by sector regulators; and protection of self interest by trade association, were already being addressed by the Council’s strategic plan.
“The committed execution of the strategic initiatives carried out by the Council under the current administration has awakened, to a great extent, the consciousness of Nigerian consumers, who are now more assertive and are thereby beating businesses to a retreat from their erstwhile practice of shortchanging consumers.