The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is seeking the partnership of consumers advocacy groups to increase consumers’ awareness of its 622 toll free line.
Mr Abdullahi Maikano, its Director (Consumer Affairs Bureau), made the call in Lagos during the Fourth Quarter Meeting/Open Forum of the Industry Consumer Advocacy Forum (ICAF).
Newsmen report that the theme of the forum was ”Telecoms Consumer Dispute Resolution and Redress Mechanism”.
Maikano said that the 622 toll free line is the number consumers could call to seek redress for their complaints on products and services of telecommunications operators.
He said that the consumers advocacy groups should help to ensure that consumers were aware and utilise the toll free line to resolve issues.
According to him, the telecommunications industry is the most regulated in the country where every operator has customer centre to resolve consumers’ issues.
“NCC is doing what it can to ensure that consumers are aware of the toll free line, 622.
“The consumers advocacy groups should help to collect complaints from consumers and take them to the operators; if the operators are not resolving them, then they should bring the issues to NCC,” he said.
Prof. Felicia Monye, the President of ICAF, said that the ability of consumers to seek and obtain redress was the hallmark of any consumer protection system.
Monye said that for consumers to enjoy their positions as kings, they must arm themselves with the knowledge to enforce their rights.
“In other words, they must know their rights under the law. They must also know their obligations because rights and obligations are reciprocal.
“The importance of effective consumer redress cannot be over-emphasised. If there is no effective redress mechanism, there is no consumer protection.
“In this case, consumer protection will remain within the domain of regulators and suppliers of products and services,” she said.
According to her, ICAF is set to empower consumers with the knowledge to seek redress and serve as active drivers of the telecommunications sector in Nigeria.
Mrs Oluwaleke Ogundipe, the Director, Surveillance and Enforcement of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), said that apart from providing redress to aggrieved consumers, the best redress would come from the consumers’ understanding of their rights.
Ogundipe said that an informed consumer would know his rights, demand them and probably receive redress without recourse to regulatory agencies.
She said that continuous sensitisation of consumers was necessary in the complaint redress process.