The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reiterated that all activities of the Commission are designed to give assurance to the consumers that their interests are of paramount importance to the Commission, insisting that without the telecom consumers, there will be no telecom operators and there would be no regulator.
Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta stated this in Abuja on Monday at a World Press Conference in commemoration of the 2021 World Consumer Rights Day.
Danbatta seized the opportunity to assure millions of telecom consumers across the country that the Commission will not rest on its oars until the challenges of telecoms consumers have been reduced to the barest minimum.
“Suffice it to say, that, the NCC seeks the occasion of this year’s World Consumer Rights Day to restate its commitment to Protecting, Informing and Educating the telecoms consumer. We call this our PIE Mandate to the consumers which embodies our philosophical commitment to strengthening all our consumer-centric initiatives and policies,” he said.
The EVC noted that as the global community celebrates the World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) 2021, the NCC is aligning with the philosophy of this day to reiterate its commitment towards providing accurate, adequate and timely information and education that enables the consumer to make informed decisions and feel protected.
Spotlighting how the Commission’s vision interconnects with the international consumer rights movement, Danbatta recalled that the Commission had declared 2017 as the Year of the Telecom Consumer, in recognition of the central place the consumer occupies in the telecom ecosystem and in the emergent digital economy.
“In the same year, the World Consumer Rights Day focused on “Better Digital World”. The declaration by the Commission and the focus by WCRD 2017 emphasised the need to build a digital world consumer can trust,” he said.
He stated that the theme for this year’s World Consumer Rights Day is, “Tackling Plastic Pollution,” and emphasized that the activities and actions slated for this commemoration are to raise awareness and engage state and non-state actors on the global plastic pollution crisis.
This focus, according to him, is coming three years after the NCC drafted the Nigerian Communications Industry E-Waste Regulations in 2018.
“The objective of the Regulation is to manage E-Waste; promote reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery; improve the environmental management system of operators in the telecom industry, and reduce greenhouse emissions as well as enhance sustainable development efforts,” Danbatta noted.
The EVC said that in reconnecting with the theme for this Year’s celebration, it bears restating, that, while the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is concluding processes to issue the regulation on Electronic Waste, it is mindful of the fact that many ICT and telecom devices have plastic components, whose waste materials could worsen plastic pollution.
“In other words, we reckon that improper disposal of such disused ICT-plastic embedded products have a grave implication on public health, and especially in achieving Goals 11, 12 and 13 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.
“These goals speak to the imperative of adhering to practices that enhance Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production; as well as Climate Action respectively,” Danbatta said.
He disclosed that worried by the recurrent cycle of fraudulent deployment of fake and substandard mobile devices – usually made of iron and plastic components, the Commission collaborated with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and other relevant government agencies to inaugurate a committee to implement Mobile Devices Management Systems (DMS).
This initiative he said is designed as a Public-Private Partnership aimed at combating the proliferation of fake, counterfeit, substandard and cloned communication devices in the telecommunications industry, adding that the expectation is that only genuine materials malleable to enduring usage are available for consumer use.
He recalled that the NCC also implemented a strict type-approval process that ensures all equipment used in the telecommunications industry are of a suitable standard, both for the good of the consumers and for the preservation of the environment.
“This coincidental connection between the 2021 theme for World Consumer Rights Day, “Tackling Plastic Pollution”, and the proactive initiatives of the Commission towards protecting the environment as well as efforts on tackling electronic waste in Nigeria tells the story of a shared vision for a satisfied consumer,” Danbatta noted.
DigitalTimesNG understands that the press conference was conceived to highlight NCC’s commitment to protecting the telecom consumers and to highlight the regulatory role of the Commission with respect to protecting the Rights of the Telecom Consumers and to connect it with the global significance of today’s celebration.
The NCC also used this year’s commemoration of the World Consumer Rights Day to unveil a new Consumer Handbook – a compendium of consumer information materials compiled to enhance education and protection of the consumer.
The World Consumer Rights Day is observed every 15th day of March.