NCC Celebrates World Consumer Rights Day, Emphasizes Importance Of Consumers In Business + PHOTOS ๐ŸŽŠ The Scoper Media

By Kehinde KOLAWOLE 

   The Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr Aminu Maida, has lauded the celebration of this yearโ€™s World Consumer Rights Day, saying that consumers are the most important part of any business.

He also emphasised that the protection of the consumer is equally of utmost importance.

Celebrated March 15 every year, Maida said the consumer rights day is usually to raise awareness about the right of consumers worldwide, while also protecting them from unfair trade practices.

Represented at the occasion by the NCC Executive Commissioner, Technical Services Designate, Engr. Abraham Oshadami, the executive vice chairman traced the history of the World Consumer Rights Day to 1962 with the introduction of four basic consumer rights by President John F. Kennedy in his speech to the United States Congress

These rights, he said included the right to safely, right to be informed, right to choose and right to be heard.

Maida said in consistent with the above rights, the NCC has over the years, kept faith with these to highlight the important position the telecom consumers occupy in the telecommunications ecosystem in Nigeria in order to uphold the rights of the consumers that have evolved over the years even with additional rights like the right to privacy, right to quality of service, among others.

In alignment with the global trend, Maida said the Commission has adopted the theme of this year’s edition as; โ€œFair and Responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the Consumers.โ€

He described AI as a phenomenon that has captured the imagination of scientists, engineers and thinkers for decades. He said it represents the culmination of human innovation and the quest to create machines that can mimic human intelligence and problem-solving capabilities.

He also admitted that AI has made significant inroads into our lives.- from voice assistants that respond to our commands to recommendation algorithms that suggests what we should watch, read or buy, he said AI is actually all around us and that it is driving innovations in healthcare, finance and transportation and in countless other fields.

Maida maintains that in a bold stride towards embracing the digital era and fortifying communication networks, the Commission orchestrated a groundbreaking endeavor to usher Nigeria into the forefront of 5G technology. With transparency as their beacon, they orchestrated not one, but two globally renowned auctions. The first, a milestone marked on December 13th, 2021, laid the foundation. Then, on December 5th, 2022, they forged ahead, casting the spotlight on Nigeria once more. This saga of innovation and progress exemplifies a commitment to empowering citizens with unparalleled connectivity and fostering a vibrant global community.

In the thrilling saga of telecom auctions, the spotlight shone brightly on MTN and MAFAB as they clinched victory in the inaugural bidding war. Amidst the electrifying atmosphere, Airtel Networks Nigeria stood alone, bold and unwavering, claiming triumph as the sole bidder in the subsequent auction. The stage was set, bids were cast, and in the end, each player carved their own path to success in the dynamic landscape of telecommunications

Maida who believes that in the vast expanse of Nigeria’s digital landscape, a new era dawned with the arrival of 5G service providers. Like cosmic pioneers, they ignited a spark that fueled a constellation of AI systems and services across the nation. Guiding this celestial dance was the Commission, a vigilant guardian, ensuring this technological odyssey traversed the right trajectory. With each digital leap, they sculpted a path that not only delighted consumers with unparalleled satisfaction but also nurtured the fertile grounds for economic prosperity to blossom. Together, they embarked on a journey where innovation intertwined with consumer delight, painting the skies with the hues of progress and promise.

In the vast landscape of technological evolution, the dance between regulation and innovation unfolds with intricate complexity. As the relentless march of progress propels us into the realm of AI and IoT cybersecurity, the challenge of crafting regulations becomes a high-stakes game of catch-up. Every legislative and governing body strives to harness the potential of AI while taming its inherent risks, yet the elusive balance between innovation and control remains a perpetual struggle.

Amidst this tumultuous landscape, a beacon of hope emerges in the form of the Quadruple Helix Innovation model, where academia, industry, government, and society converge in a harmonious symphony of collaboration. It is within this nexus of minds that the seeds of transformative ideas are sown, nurtured by the collective wisdom of diverse perspectives.

In this era of boundless possibilities, AI developers and regulators alike find themselves navigating uncharted ethical waters, where inclusivity and integrity reign supreme. The algorithms that power our AI systems must not only be efficient and effective but also imbued with the principles of ethics and fairness, ensuring that the fruits of innovation are shared equitably among all members of society.

As the saga of regulation and innovation unfolds, one thing remains clear: the journey towards a secure and trustworthy AI future is not one that can be undertaken alone. It is only through the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders, united by a shared vision of progress, that we can navigate the challenges ahead and usher in a new era of technological enlightenment.

In a grand symphony of consumer care, the Commission unfurls its banner of commitment to safeguarding the telecom consumer. With a flourish of proactive zeal, we’ve crafted an array of consumer-centric initiatives, akin to a knight’s arsenal, ready to tackle the first wave of complaints.

Behold, the Consumer Complaints Management (CCM) fortress, where myriad channels await, beckoning distressed souls to find solace in resolution. Amidst the digital labyrinth, a beacon of hope shines bright: the NCC Toll-free line 622, a lifeline open from the break of dawn until the twilight hours, save for sacred Sundays and Holidays.

But fear not, for the dragons of unsolicited messages shall trouble thee no more! With the mystical incantation of the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) Code 2442, the onslaught of unwanted missives shall be banished to the abyss whence they came.

Venture forth into the digital realm, where the Consumer Portal- stands as a bastion of enlightenment, guiding weary travelers towards resolution And lo, behold the Commission Consumer X account @Consumersncc, a sanctuary where voices rise as one, echoing the clarion call for justice.

In this saga of consumer empowerment, let us march hand in hand, for the Commission’s shield of protection shall never waver, ensuring the telecom consumer’s quest for fairness and tranquility.

Maida said amidst the jubilant observance of World Consumer Right Day (WCRD) 2024, the Commission unveils its resolute stance: this year’s theme seamlessly intertwines with its mission. With AI as the avant-garde shaping our tomorrow, its potential for societal betterment is undeniable yet demands a nuanced approach. Under the banner of Protect, Inform, and Educate (PIE Mandate), the telecom consumer remains the focal point of our dedication. As AI strides forward, innovation must harmonize with the preservation of consumer rights, values, and dignity, forging a path where progress and protection walk hand in hand.

 In his welcome address at the occasion, NCC Deputy Director, Consumer Bureau, Mr Clem Omile, said the importance of consumers in business cannot be over-emphasised

On the 15th of March, the global spotlight shines brightly on consumers as World Consumer Rights Day sweeps across nations. It’s a day woven with purpose, where the tapestry of consumer rights is unfurled, safeguarding against the claws of exploitation, discrimination, and the murky waters of unfair practices.

Omile has it that in this annual symphony of advocacy, the chorus of voices rises, echoing the importance of protecting those who wield the power of choice. From the bustling streets of bustling cities to the quiet corners of rural landscapes, the mantra resounds: consumers matter.

He said, amidst the hustle and bustle of modern life, this day serves as a beacon, guiding consumers through the labyrinth of products and services, reminding them of their inherent rights and the responsibility to demand fairness.

So, on this day, let’s raise our voices in unison, celebrating the essence of consumerism, for in protecting consumers, we safeguard the very heart of our economies and societies

In the timeless wisdom penned by Adam Smith within the pages of “The Wealth of Nations,” he eloquently proclaimed that the heartbeat of all production and services pulsates to the rhythm of consumption. He asserted that the paramount aim of any endeavor, be it crafting goods or rendering services, is to satiate the desires and needs of consumers. Thus, theinterests of producers and service providers should be harmoniously aligned with the noble pursuit of enhancing consumer welfare.

In the realm of commerce, John Wanamaker, once the esteemed American Postmaster General and Advertising Maestro, eloquently extolled the paramount significance of the Consumer with his immortal proclamation, “Customer is King.” Within the hallowed halls of the NCC, Telecom consumers reign supreme, for they not only furnish the beating heart but also the very essence that propels and imbues our endeavors with purpose and vitality.

More importantly, he said in the dynamic world of telecommunications, consumers reign supreme, and the Commission stands firm in its commitment to champion their rights. Through innovative initiatives, we vow to safeguard consumer interests and foster a culture of empowerment. Consumer education emerges as a powerful weapon in this endeavor, fueling our engagement with the public through diverse platforms. From the vibrant Telecom Consumer Parliament to the insightful Telecom Consumer Conversations, from the bustling Village Square Dialogues to the enlightening Campus Conversations, and even extending to the grassroots with NYSC Camp Sensitization and Town Hall on Radio sessions, we embark on a journey of dialogue, understanding, and empowerment, ensuring that every voice is heard and every right is protected in the vast landscape of telecommunications

In a groundbreaking move towards inclusivity, our commitment to accessibility knows no bounds. Not only have we unveiled the Telecom Consumer Handbook, a beacon of consumer rights, but we’ve also ensured that even those with visual impairments can access its wealth of information through a meticulously transcribed Braille edition.

But our dedication doesn’t stop there. The Commission is on the cusp of revolutionizing consumer advocacy with the imminent launch of the Automated Consumer Complaints Management system. This cutting-edge innovation will not only broaden the avenues for lodging complaints but will also streamline the resolution process, ensuring swift and effective resolutions, even at the first level with service providers. From empowering the visually impaired to championing seamless consumer advocacy, we’re paving the way for a more inclusive and responsive telecom landscape.

Omile caps it to say thus, in the bustling halls of the Commission’s headquarters, a silent acknowledgment resonated: without the Consumers, the very heartbeat of the telecommunication industry would falter into silence. Thus, like guardians of a vital flame, the Commission pledged unwavering allegiance to those who fueled the network’s lifeblood. For inย their hands lay not just devices, but the power to shape the digital realm itself.