Defend your rights as consumers, FG tells Nigerians

The federal government has urged Nigerians to defend their rights as consumers and stand against exploitation by firms and service providers.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, said this Thursday at an event to mark World Consumer Rights Day in Abuja.

Mr Adebayo said consumer protection policies, laws and regulations provide businesses a framework within which they operate to ensure that the rights of consumers are protected.

“As a consumer, you should be aware of your rights to safety, be informed, be heard and seek redress against any form of exploitative service,” he said.

“I would like to reiterate the need to treat consumers fairly. It helps your business gain a good reputation. Do not underestimate the role of customer service in increasing competitiveness, profitability, and quickly ageing your business growth and expansion.”

Nigerians have complained about incessant violation of their rights as customers, but few demonstrate the patience to take up cases against defaulting companies. Data from the consumer protection agency show the operators in the banking, aviation, and telecoms sectors as the most regular offenders.

In February, airlines in the country jointly raised the minimum air fare from N23,000 to N50,000, against the anti-competition law. A directive from the consumer agency for the rate to be reversed has not been complied with.

Digital money lenders have also resorted to illegal measures to recover their loans, harassing defaulters by exposing their personal data.

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and other related agencies last week raided offices of loan providers in Lagos.

The world consumer rights day is celebrated March 15 to raise global awareness about consumer rights and needs.

To mark the day, the FCCPC organised a one day summit with the theme “Fair Digital Finance”.

The executive vice chairman of the FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, said that digital loan providers will now be supervised under a regulatory framework.

The consumer agency threatened to take stiffer actions against businesses that violate the rights of their consumers.

“We discovered that this is much more serious than we thought, and we have to now look at how we can bring these people into the regulatory framework,” he said through the executive commissioner, operations of the agency, Adamu Abdullahi.

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