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A Workshop organized by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) was held at Lelewal Motel, 24, Galadima Aminu Way, Opposite State Polytechnic, Yola, Adamawa State Nigeria. 

The theme of the workshop is “Information and Communication as a Catalysts for Consumer Protection .  It was held yesterday, Thursday 9th November, 2017  from 10am to 3:00pm.

The aim of the workshop is to  bring together the regulator (NCC),  the Telecomm Service providers  to hear  consumers’ complaints, respond to consumers’ questions and proffer solutions to them.  These was contained in a welcome address delivered by the Director Consumer Protection Unit, NCC represented by Alh. Ismaila Adedigba who is the Head of Information Response Unit, NCC.

The objectives of the workshop are spelled out below as contained in a communiqué issued to participants:-
To empower consumers  through awareness creation  programmes that highlights their rights, privileges and obligations.
To ensure consumers have adequate information and education
To protect consumers from  unfair  practices in the industry
To facilitate  redress  for dissatisfied consumer care services to consumers.
To monitor  trends  that  impact consumers.
To give a voice to all consumers  irrespective of their socio-economic status.
To ensure the consumers remains king
To actualize the objectives, the CAB will mediate and  resolve dispute  between consumers and service providers
Publish fact sheets and brochures  on consumers and service provider
Publish fact sheets  and brochure on  consumers rights
Organize  consumers outreach forums
Facilitate efficient consumer – operator  interface for complaints management
Collaboration  with consumers advocacy groups
Monitor the activities and programmes of service  providers
Ensure call/care centres meet  acceptable standard  (international best practice).    

Representatives of the regulator (NCC), major telecomm service providers, security chiefs, traditional leaders, media organizations, consumer advocacy groups  were all in attendance  and they all make their contributions at the workshop. Most speakers at the workshop spoke on how to make consumers get more informed so that they can make right decisions  in other to enjoy what they are paying for.

Mr. Jocob Oyide, is the representative of MTN Nigeria. He expressed his appreciation to the organizers of the workshop and explained to the participants how his company is making consumers get more informed. Jocob said that “We provide touch points in many local governments in Adamawa state  for customers to go  and make enquiries about the services of MTN, we also have MTN App that allow consumers make enquiries about the services they uses”.

In his contribution,  Maiwada Jude, representative of Airtel Nigeria narrated that “ we made available platforms that consumers can use to search for information and get their problems resolves, these platforms are: Franchise shops located across the various local government in the state, 121 aitel connect which is a 24 hour online customer care that uses all the major languages in Nigeria”, he further said that airtel Nigeria employs managers that understand the local languages of people in the remotes areas. All these is just to make information available to consumers.

Yusuf Isa is the representative of 9Mobile Nigeria. He is also the Regional Sales manager, North East Nigeria. Isa Hinted that 9Mobile as a telecom service provider  that uses different channels to get their customers get informed, some of these mediums are: The twitter handle  @9mobileNG, Call centre 200, and dealer outlets. He further  narrated that the 9Mobile call center uses all the major languages in Nigeria to serve customers that may not understand one language or the other. 

Also speaking at the workshop was the representative of Glo Nigeria Plc Mr. Amaechi “ Glo World” offices are established across many local government in the state  to ensure that customer are  listens and get redress.  Customer care lines that runs 24/7 hours are maintained just to listen and provide consumers with relevant and uptodate information they want. He  also said that customers can also get them through their twitter handle  @Gloworld or visit their website at  www.gloworld.com.

In his remark, Lamido of Adamawa who was represented by the District Head of Jimeta Alh. Baba Paris commended the organizers and the participants of the workshop. He said that regulating the activities of these telecomm service providers is critical in other to ensure that consumers are not short change for the services they are paying for, he used the opportunity to thank all the participants for the well done job.

Barr. Babatunde Ayola spoke on behalf of the consumer advocacy groups, he said that Data services in Yola goes Off and On and consumers demand to be at least  informed whenever the data services will be tempered by the telecomm service providers.

Also speaking at the workshop was the representative of DSS and other security agencies, DPO Jimeta Division warns consumers against misusing telephones to spread false stories or rumours or uses it to blackmail others, he said that doing such could amount to criminal charges. He said that   consumers should be watchful, vigilant and should report any strange criminal calls/texts that demands vital personal data like BVN,  Bank A/C Number etc. He advise that, before giving out such a vital information, customers should make sure that they know the person that is demanding such  information.

NCC Ambassador, Ali Nuhu talked about platforms that exists which consumers can use to  resolves issues, specifically he talked about how to use Code 2442 and code 622 to forward  complaints  to NCC via text and 622 via voice calls. He also talked about the safety of telecomm masts which many  are complaining about  that it causes health problems.  The ambassador made it clear to the audience that the masts cause no harm to human health. “ Telecom masts does not harm people, it should not worry anyone” he further said that it was confirmed from the WHO.

At the end of the workshop, a communiqué was issued to all participants.  This communiqué   was provided to supply information to participants particularly the consumers with the following subtitles:-
i. Objectives of the workshop
ii. Consumer bill of right
iii. Obligations of service providers to the Nigerian consumers to telecomm services
iv. Obligations from consumer of  telecom services
v. Ways to protect child online
vi. Awareness on cybercrimes
vii. Types of cyber crimes
viii. How to avoid cyber crimes
ix. Porting
x. Mobile number portability
xi. Benefits of good phone manners
xii. Procedure for lodging a consumer complaint

Finally, the workshop enters into  an interactive session where questions and answers were made by the consumers and the representatives of the service providers, a number of issues were raised and equally resolved. The workshop achieved it aim and objectives. Most participants went back home more informed, more educated and more enlightened. The service providers also acknowledged most of the complaints  made by the consumers and promised redress.   

BY: Umar Abdullahi Aliyu and Yusuf  Umar

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