In its efforts to educate and enlighten rural telecom consumers on their rights, the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), has held its 40th edition of Consumer Town Hall Meeting (CTM) at Biliri in Gombe state.
Mrs. Felicia Onwuegbuchulum, Director of NCC, consumers affairs bureau, said the essence of holding the meeting in Biliri, is to bring together telecom consumers from rural communities with the network operators and the regulating body (NCC), to discuss, proffer solution to consumer related issues to ensure they have value for their money through effective service delivery.
Felicia added that the program is also aimed at ensuring that consumers are well protected, informed and educated on their rights and privileges.
“Through empowerment and education, telecom consumers are fortified with necessary tools to be protected from market exploitation, and to make rational and informed decision when making choices of services.” She said.
She further told the participants that it is only through information and education that the consumers can be empowered to take the right decisions, especially when their rights as consumers, are trampled on.
She also noted that the forum will serve as a feedback mechanism for NCC in making regulatory interventions for the benefit of the consumers, the service providers and the entire industry
Mr. Jide Abdullazeez, of the Wheel of Hope Consumer Advocacy, while speaking on the theme of the occasion, “Using Information and Education as Tools for Consumer Empowerment and Protection” called on telecommunications service providers to compliment NCC by organising similar meetings for consumers to be educated about how best to make use of the service for social, political and economic advantages and gains.
Abdullazeez, then recommended the need for service providers to translate any information they have into major Nigerian languages, for effective reach and education for the benefit of the consumers, especially those living in rural communities.
He also encouraged consumers to take advantage and attend all campaign awareness whenever it is being organize.
Earlier in his welcome address the Deputy Director, consumer affairs bureau, Alh. Ismaila Adedigba, said in an efforts to address critical complaints, like unsolicited messages and calls, failure to roll over unused data, automatic renewal of data services upon expiration and activation of value added services without prior consent of the subscriber, the NCC developed 622 toll free line which the subscriber can easily lodge complaints for any unresolved service.
Aggrieved subscribers took advantage of the meeting to highlight their dissatisfaction over poor quality of service from service providers, ranging from call drop, unsolicited SMS, exploitative data service and illegal charges and deductions.
The event attracted representatives of Mobile Service providers, stakeholder’s representatives from different segments, like traditional rulers, Farmers, traders, cooperative groups, voluntary organizations, students, NYSC members serving in the community and other participants. A lot of questions and observations were raised and discussed with the view of promoting regulatory excellence and operational efficiency in the industry.