15th March, 2019
Mr Babatunde Irukera, the Director-General, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has reiterated the importance of consumer protection and education in the country.
Irukera said this on Friday at a Stakeholders’ Forum organised by FCCPC to commemorate the “World Consumer Rights Day 2019’’ at Bannex Plaza, in Abuja.
The World Consumer Rights Day had as its theme “Trusted Smart Products’’.
According to the director-general, most constitutions across the world do not capture consumerism as a fundamental human right and the nature of business practiced is mainly centred at making profit.
He said it was thus important to recognise what consumer rights are, to respect those rights, ensure its enforcement and consumer satisfaction.
“The biggest problem in the World today is whether consumers truly recognise their rights and whether companies do enough to respect their obligation to regard those rights.
“And so, to dedicate a specific day to the rights of consumers, I think it is appropriate, with the number of years this has happened, I think consumers are more aware of their rights.
“Although in spite of this, there is still a long way to travel for consumers to truly understand their rights and for them to have the motivation and understand the enforcement mechanism that is available.
“This is also an opportunity for governments to reinforce and deepen the regulatory framework and the enforcement mechanism to ensure consumer rights are respected,’’ Irukera said.
Irukera said the event was held at the Bannex plaza, adding “because it is the hub for exchange and sale for smart products whether telephone devices, televisions, computers and the like.’’
He said the event was also an opportunity to speak to the key stakeholders, those who sell and buy the products.
The Chairman, National Association of Nigerian Traders NANTS) FCT chapter, Mr Edozie Ugwu, urged the commission to ensure a proper channel where consumers could get redress for fake or substandard products.
“There is the need for a desk officer to be in some sensitive public places like the public market and airport in case there is any short change so the consumer can easily complain for a redress.
“There must also be a proper punishment for such offenders as this is the only way that people will be restrained from bringing fake and substandard products into the country.’’
Also speaking, Mr Chibuike Nzedimma, the Chairman Bannex Tenant Association, urged the commission to collaborate with the channels of smart products in ensuring that proper standards for products were set.
Nzedimma said the wholesalers, distributors and retailers related majorly with the consumers of smart products and know what they want.
“Every consumer of a smart product wants his or her privacy to be protected and that is something that the commission should work on.
“When you use smart products, you exchange information’s such as your email, passwords, banking transactions and these should be kept private and should not be leaked to the public via globe or internet.
“We also expect the commission to educate the consumers and traders on product specifications because the specifications for some products differ across the globe,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, some traders who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) urged the commission to ensure more awareness of its duties as many Nigerians were still ignorant of the commission’s mandate.