The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that it will not tolerate telecoms service providers treating consumers with levity. Th e commission said consumers remained kings as far as the business of telecommunications was concerned, and that it was primarily established to ensure that consumers received value for money. Th e Head, Information and Reference Consumer Aff airs Bureau of NCC, Mr Ismail Adedigba, stated this while speaking at the 96th edition of NCC Consumer Outreach Programme in Awka, with the theme: “Using Information and Education as Tools for Consumer Empowerment and Protection.”
He said the meeting was meant to ascertain major complaints from mobile telecoms users against service providers, so as to properly educate them on how to seek redress, while also speaking to the service providers on the dangers of not complying with consumers’ requests. Adedigba, who was addressing issues relating to the receipt of unsolicited text messages by consumers, said the NCC has dedicated numbers which if activated can stop all unwanted text messages to consumers, adding that the service providers were obligated to honour such requests without delay.
He said the tripartite meeting involving mobile telecoms service providers, consumers and the commission was aimed at ensuring that the kingship of the consumers was stressed. Adedigba explained that service providers existed solely because of the consumers and therefore, the consumers should be accorded rights to information, education, fair hearing, choice and safety. “We are here to provide complaints desks so that consumers can resolve issues with their service providers such as unsolicited SMS, automated renewal of data, without prior knowledge of the user and rollover of unfi nished data.
“These complaints can be regulated by NCC when consumers call the 622 tollfree line or text `STOP’ to 2442 (the Do-Not-Disturb ‘DND’ short code for unsolicited SMS),” Adedigba said. Director of Consumer Aff airs Bureau, Mrs Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, who was represented by the Head, Public Relations (NCC), Reuben Muoka, urged mobile telecom users to utilise toll-free lines and Customer Care Centres of NCC to relay complaints taken to service providers but yet-to-be resolved. Onwuegbuchulam said that consumers were target benefi ciaries and should be protected from untoward issues from providers.
“They have to be protected from wrong choices and exploitations and informed of their rights. “Th ese rights include being properly informed and educated, right to take decisions, correct information with understandable language that is relevant, current and timely,’’ she said. Th e Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C. Don Adinuba, who was represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Broadcast Media, Mrs Ifunanya Abass, commended NCC for organising a forum for telecom consumers, saying ‘information is key’. Adinuba promised synergy with NCC through the provision of media platforms in Anambra to readily inform users on how to demand services. “Mobile users are not properly educated on how to relate with service providers. With this kind of forum, they can take charge,’’ he said.