At a stakeholders’ sensitization workshop on the hazardous effects of non-type approved handsets and impact on quality of service in Lafia, Nasarawa State organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), participants were charged to shun the patronage and use of substandard and counterfeit telecommunications equipment to ensure optimum service delivery.
The head of zonal operations department of NCC, Mrs. Helen Obi, who was represented by the principal manager zonal operations, Mr Ekisola Oladisun, reassured the participants that the NCC remained committed to ensuring that the consumer enjoys her stake in the telecommunications industry, saying the commission would ensure that all equipment purchased for telecommunication services by Nigerians are satisfactorily utilized and the user gets value for his/her money.
She added that the sensitization workshop was aimed at educating the people of Lafia and its environs on the importance of using type approved equipment and the hazardous effects of using non-type approved equipment.
In his paper presentation titled: “lmpact of counterfeit/substandard mobile devices”, a senior officer, technical standards and network integrity department, Mr Chukwuma Nwaiwu decried the high rate of substandard and counterfeited products in the Nigerian market space, saying the impact spanned through consumers, manufactures, government and the environment.
He gave the impact to include exposure to health and safety risks, loss of money, loss of revenue by government because the goods are smuggled, loss of resources in combating proliferation of counterfeited equipment, environmental pollution in form of e-waste, reduction in innovation and productivity.
Nwaiwu said though the NCC has been proactive in its efforts to curb the proliferation of non-type equipment by ensuring products go through type approval process, which ensures products brought into the country are accessed to ensure they meet the specifications, the challenges of fighting counterfeiting are enormous.
The NCC has as part of its interventions been educating the Nigerian public through workshops, building partnerships with other regulatory bodies like SON, Customs etc., participating in international symposiums to learn best practices and developing policies to curb counterfeiting, Nwaiwu said.
He added that the NCC is at present developing a label to be placed on all type approved equipment for easy identification by Nigerians,adding that for now Nigerians should explore the NCC website for the list of all type approved products to avoid the patronage of counterfeited products.
The participants at the event expressed satisfaction and called on the NCC to do more of such sensitization workshops especially at the grassroots level.
In a chat with one of the participants, Mrs Nneli Tessy, she said the knowledge she has gained would help her to choose devices that have been type approved so she could get value for her money.
The chairman of GSM Marketers Association, Lafia branch in his comment encouraged security agents at our airports and other entry points to ensure counterfeited products are not smuggled into the country again.
The sensitization workshop which had in attendance the representatives of the Emir of Lafia, secretary to state government, commissioner for information and culture and other dignitaries ended with stakeholders calling on Nigerians to shun patronage of counterfeited products and take advantage of the NCC website to see the list of type approved telecommunication devices especially before purchase, and the NCC toll free number to report cases of substandard and counterfeited products.