By Emmanuel Elebeke
JOS—THE Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, says education remains a key driver equipping telecom consumers and arming them from exploitative tendencies of the market forces.
Addressing participants Thursday at the 34th edition of Consumer Town Hall Meeting, CTM, with the theme, “Information and Education as Catalyst for Consumer Protection” in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State, the Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said that information and education is important for consumer awareness and protection from undue exploitations.
The EVC, who described telecom consumers as the most important stakeholders of the sector noted that telecom consumers help in sustaining the industry through patronage of telecom services from service providers, hence the need to accord them their due respect.
The EVC, who was represented by Deputy Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Alhaji Ismail Adedigba assured that the
commission would use the forum to empower consumers and equip them in line with world best practice.
Danbatta pointed out that the theme for the CTM was targeted at achieving one of the 8 Point agenda of the current administration which is to shield telecom consumers from exploitative tendencies of the service providers and crown them as the king of the telecom market.
He noted that the Nigerian Communications Commision has developed various programmes to empower Consumers.
They include: organizing outreach programmes across the country; dissemination of consumer education via fact sheets; information dissemination via consumer web portal; interaction via social media; responding to enquires via the NCC centre on the 622 toll free number; and participating on radio programmes.
He charged service providers help consumers make informed decision on products and services.
In his remarks, the Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Abdullahi Maikano said in NCC telecom consumers are the target benefiary of all its activities which makes them enjoy primary focus in terms of ensuring that they get good quality of service, value for money spent and timely and fare redress of complaints.
To ensure that the consumer is well protected, informed and educated, he said the Commission has developed series of initiatives with the aim of empower ing the consumer with appropriate information that will ensure that their rights are protected.
Delivering his keynote address, the chief executive of Wheel of Hope Consumer Advocacy, Jide Abdulazeez, said cognisance must be given to consumer needs as well as demands in order to promote the patronage of telecommunications otherwise the services will be an effort in futility.
He posited that creating consumer awareness for consumer is the most potent mechanism to protecting from being shortchanged in any service delivery, adding that protection of the consumers is in tandem to deepening market confidence and expansion.
Meanwhile, aggrieved subscribers seized the forum to ventilate their dissatisfaction from poor quality of service from service providers.
Some of their complaints range from call drop, unsolicited SMS, exploitative data service and illegal charges and deductions.