By Amby Uneze in Owerri
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has threatened to penalise or sanction any service provider that failed to comply with its directive of ensuring effective service to the consumers in the country.
The Deputy Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau of the Commission, Alhaji Ismail Adedigbe said this at the 44th edition of Consumer Town Hall Meeting held at Oguta Civic Centre hall, in Imo State.
He regretted that the Commission had been inundated with complaints such as unsolicited text messages and calls, failure or refusal to roll over unused data at the expiration of bundle, automatic renewal of date service, call masking and refilling and directed the service providers to be alive to attending to those issues by consumers.
He said, “failure of the operators to comply with the directives would attract appropriate penalties and sanctions”.
Adedigbe assured that NCC as the consumer-centric institution had taken necessary steps towards addressing those major complaints by developing the 2442 DND Short Code aimed at solving the unsolicited text messages and call, issuing directive to service providers on Data Roll-over, issuance of directive to service providers on forceful subscription of data service and developing 622 Toll-Free Line through which a consumer could easily lodge his complaints.
He said that NCC for taking full cognisance and recognition of the fact that consumers were kings, had vowed to accord them their basic right including the right to be heard, to be educated and to choose as well as the right to redress and right to safety as the case may be.
He restated the willingness of NCC as a telecom regulatory agency to empower the telecom consumers with adequate information and education.
In her opening remarks, the Director Consumer Affairs Bureau of NCC, Mrs. Felicia Onwuegbuchulam while welcoming the consumers for the Town Hall Meeting said that it was aimed at educating telecom consumers and other stakeholders on contemporary issues generating interest in the industry.
She said that the theme of the programme titled ‘Using Information and Education as Tools for Consumer Empowerment and Protection’ was carefully chosen to reflect the objectives of the Nigeria Communications Commission of ensuring consumer empowerment.
According to her, through empowerment and education, telecom consumers were fortified with necessary tools to be protected from market exploitation and to make rational and informed decision when making choice of services.
She said that to ensure the telecom consumers were well protected, informed and educated, the commission had developed series of initiatives with the main goal of empowering consumers with appropriate information and education that would ensure their right, privileges and interests were adequately protected.
Welcoming the NCC, the traditional ruler of Oguta, HRH Eze Nnani Chinedu Nzeribe commended the NCC for their choice of Oguta for the meeting and called for establishment of ICT centre in Oguta as the only presence sited in the LGA since its creation.
He regretted that since the creation of Oguta Council in 1955 and since after the coming of the Whitemen in 1885 there had not been any Federal Government presence in the area.
In their separate reactions, the representatives of the service providers such as MTN , AIRTEL, GLO, 9MOBIL assured the consumers steps taken by them to offer effective service to them.
The representative of the Glo Network Mobile Mrs. Chinwe Ejiofor commended the NCC for organising such a meeting which had offered them an opportunity to meet and interact with the consumers from the area.