15th March, 2011
As Nigeria joins other countries today to mark the World Consumer Rights Day, consumers in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, have said they have nothing to celebrate as there are no laws to protect their rights especially in the financial sector.
World Consumer Rights Day is set aside by international organisation of Consumer Union for the protecting of consumersâ€™ rights.
The union, which Nigeria is a member, was established in 1983 to expand consumer protection across the world.
In line with the theme for this yearâ€™s celebration â€œconsumers for fair financial servicesâ€, a cross section of consumers who spoke to P.M.News this morning said their rights are not well protected and that there is need for goverment at all levels to put necessary measures in place to check exploitation.
A market woman, Mrs. Lucy Ogbia said that unlike consumers in other parts of the country, consumers in Nigeria have nothing to celebrate.
â€œ We really donâ€™t have anything to celebrate. Is it the exploitation by the banks or the cheating by telecommunications companies that we should celebrate about? Thousands of consumers have been defrauded through the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) and nothing has been done about it. If you complain to the banks, they will tell you that you may have compromised your ATM pin and that is the end of the matter. Consumers in this country are really suffering and goverment should do something about it.â€
A lecturer at the Lagos State University, Michael Adamson, said that banks and other market agents are able to get away with it when they exploit consumers simply because there are no adequate laws to protect consumers.
â€œ Forget celebration! There is nothing for us here to celebrate. A people who are being exploited cannot be celebrating. What I think goverment should be doing now is to enact new regulatory guidelines to handle some of the innovations in the banking sector. If you look at the ATM schedule, you will discover that the liability for compromising the security pin lies solely with the customer. That is to say that even when the compromise is from within the bank, the customer still bares the brunt. That is unfair and I think specific regulatory framework that tackle such bias should be considered by goverment.â€
A housewife, Mrs Bukola Adeyemi, who said she is not aware of the consumers rights day noted that Nigerian consumers should not be part of such celebration because there is nothing to celebrate.
She said: â€œwhat kind of celebration is that? I donâ€™t know anything about consumers right day celebration and if there is anything like that, Nigerian consumers cannot be part of it.â€
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Consumer Protection Committee (CPC) has called on the National Assembly and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to put in place necessary regulatory framework for the operation of ATM related transactions .
In a statement by the chairman of the committee, Hon. Adeniyi Oyemade who is also the state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, the committee noted that it is high time the National Assembly and CBN put the necessary regulatory framework in place to check the growing cases of ATM fraud in the country.
He said: â€œMembers of the Lagos State Consumer Protection Committee are worried about the ATM cases because most of the unauthorised withdrawals remain unresolved. We seize this oppurtunity to call on the National Assembly and CBN to put the necessary regulatory framework for the operation of ATM related transactions to safeguard consumers from risk associated with the use of ATM services.â€