By Martin Ekpeke
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), yesterday at the Lagos International Trade Fair, described the consumer as the most critical stakeholder in the country’s telecom industry.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who stated this in a speech he delivered at the NCC Day event, where the commission interacts and engage with telecom consumers, said the telecom regulator is aware of the role of the consumers and have identified them as very important stakeholders.
“Telecom being central to our daily life could not have been achieved without the consumers and as such, we identify them as a very important stakeholder in the telecom industry,” he said in the speech delivered on his behalf by Ismail Adedigba, Head of Information and Reference Unit, Consumer Affairs Bureau at NCC.
He noted that this recognition is evident in the 8- point agenda of the Commission, where the empowerment and protection of the consumers from unfair practices through the availability of information and education to make informed choices in the use of ICT services is emphasized.
He added that globally, telecommunication services are critical to the overall socio-economic well-being, as it provides a technological foundation for societal communications, which plays a central role in the fundamental operations of a society-from business to government to families.
“Telecommunication has opened up avenues for businesses to thrive and invariably grown the Nigerian economy extensively. Thus, we see the Consumer as a very important Stakeholder in the Telecom industry who must get the most benefits,” he said.
The former University lecturer added that having seen the consumer as the most critical stakeholder, NCC has adopted different strategies to reach out to them. One of them is the participation in strategic international Trade fairs, which have served as viable platforms for reaching out to teeming telecom Consumers.
He said the Nigerian Communications Commission special day at the Trade fairs aims at educating and informing consumers on the use of Communication services and their rights as telecom Consumers.
One of the issues affecting telecoms consumers, which the Commission has proffered concrete solution to, is the issue of telemarketing, commonly known as an unsolicited text message. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in order to protect subscribers from the unwholesome practice, evolved a solution called DO-NOT-DISTURB (DND) directing all Mobile Network Operators to dedicate a short code 2442 to enable subscribers to take informed, but independent decisions on what messages they wish to receive from their networks by typing STOP to 2442 to stop the messages completely or HELP to choose the message you want.
Another area where the Commission has intervened to protect the consumers, according to Danbatta is Cybercrime and e-fraud. He said the Commission always advises all consumers not to open emails not familiar to them, never to post personal identification information online or save your password online.
He explained that NCC has created a Toll-Free Number 622, as a second-level complaint redress mechanism, which allows consumers to escalate unresolved issues by their service providers to the Commission for effective resolutions. The toll-free number can be reached daily between 8a.m – 8p.m. except on Sundays and national public holidays.
“As a telecom consumer, you deserve the right to get value for your investment. NCC as your regulator has devised ways to lodge your complaints when you are dissatisfied with the services provided by your Operator. The Commission will apply appropriate regulatory measures and sanctions against such service providers,” he disclosed.