By Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
The Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mrs. Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, Thursday said the commission is more than determined to protect telecoms consumers from cyber criminals in the country, adding that it has evolved measures to achieve this.
Onwuegbuchulam, who made the disclosure at the 53rd Consumer Town Hall meeting of the commission held in Oyo, also said the theme: ”Mitigating Effects of Cybercrimes: The Role of Telecom Consumers,” was aimed at informing and educating consumers on the roles required of them in mitigating cybercrime.
Represented by her deputy, Alhaji Ismail Adedigba, she said the NCC evolved the initiative to identify, discuss and jointly proffer effective solutions to different issues affecting telecoms consumers in the country.
According to her, “As a tripartite programme, the forum aims to, on a continuous basis, engage telecoms consumers by educating, informing and empowering them with information they need to know, their rights when violated by the service providers.
“Since we started organising this event some years back, we have treated different thematic topics, which have produced key resolutions that have been communicated to service providers for implementation.
“Indeed, this has helped to guarantee improved services and value for money spent on telecom services for the consumers. Telecom consumers have been the ultimate beneficiaries of the initiatives.”
She added that the theme of the event was aimed at highlighting the threats of cybercrime to users of telecoms services and to sensitise them on the role they needed to play against the preying eyes of cyber criminals and hackers.
Onwuegbuchulam stated further that consumers were important stakeholders in the current cyber space, noting that individuals and corporate users of telecom devices often make use of internet in the connected world.
“it is our belief as a commission, that without consumers becoming aware of cybercrime trends and making efforts to ensure safe use of connected devices, cyber criminals will continue to make cyberspace unsafe.
“Our belief is that the most effective ways to protect telecom consumers from effects of cybercrime is through continuous consumer education and awareness such as the one we are having here today,” she said.
She maintained that the commission had
embarked on various initiatives to increase access to the internet for Nigerians, adding that they are conscious of dishonest individuals using the internet for illegal activities.
“The hackers and cyber criminals deploy sophisticated systems to intrude into your connected devices as telecoms consumers to perpetrate their exploitation schemes. Cybercrime is on the increase. The commission is committed to using its various outreach programmes to embark on series of awareness campaigns with a view to keeping consumers well informed on the risks associated with being online,” she said.
Adedigba, in his personal address, said the town hall meeting (CTM) was to bring together telecoms consumers in the rural and semi-urban areas, adding that such was to bring them together with service providers as well as the regulator for a face-to-face interaction on telecom issues affecting the consumers.
According to him, “This was organised to sensitise telecoms consumers on the rising wave of cybercrime in its various forms, the dangers it poses and the role, which telecoms consumers are expected to play in reducing the impacts of cybercrimes on them.
“Let me emphasise at this juncture that while the regulatory intervention and other initiatives are ongoing to sanitise our internet space, telecoms consumers must play their response. Thus, the need for you all to take this meeting seriously as we educate you on what your roles should be in minimising the effect of cybercrime.”
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, lauded the NCC for educating the people on cybercrime, its various forms, the dangers it poses and the role expected of consumers in mitigating such danger.
The monarch, who was represented by the Bashorun of Oyo, Chief Yusuf Ayoola, called on NCC to make the interface regular so as to reduce cybercrime drastically in the society.
He also warned the youths to shun criminal activities among which is cybercrime, urging them to embrace honesty, patience and hard work, which he said, were hallmarks of the Yoruba.