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NCC reiterates commitment to partner telecoms consumer rights advocacy groups

…Describes telecom consumers as lifeblood of sector

By Juliet Umeh

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC appears not to be relenting in tackling issues that have to do with telecommunications consumers as it has promised strong partnership with the sector’s right advocacy groups.

The regulatory body made the fresh commitment while hosting the second quarter meeting of Industry Consumer Advisory Forum, ICAF, held virtually.

The Commission reiterated its commitment to increase its partnership with consumer rights advocacy groups in the sector to expand the sphere of consumer education through timely, accurate and adequate information sharing to enhance the level of education of the average telecom consumer.

The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive (EVC/CE) of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the Commission is working consciously and appropriately to ensure that continuous and informed conversations take place among all stakeholders in the industry on all matters, particularly as it affects telecom consumers, who are the lifeblood of the sector.

Danbatta who was represented by the Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, CAB, Efosa Idehen, said: “The just-concluded virtual meeting of ICAF speaks to NCC’s commitment to give full expression to the metaphorical saying: ‘thinking beyond the box’, to get the work done in the face of challenging circumstances, such as the restrictions resulting from the outbreak of COVID-19.

“We are, therefore, committed to partner ICAF and other stakeholders in the telecom industry to stimulate value-adding conversations that will generate ideas to sustain and advance the relevance of telecommunications as a critical enabler of digital economy,” he said.

As a testimony to NCC’s readiness to work harmoniously with other stakeholders in the industry, the Commission, in collaboration with ICAF, is finalising the production of Telecom Consumer Handbook, in order to deepen consumer education about telecom products and services.

The Management of NCC was particularly pleased that issues affecting differently-abled people featured prominently at the meeting and promised that such matters will continue to be on the priority list of the Commission. The differently-abled people are those, hitherto referred to as ‘the physically-challenged’. A representative of the group informed the meeting that the United Nations had passed a resolution that the persons in that category be addressed as “Differently-Abled People.”

The ICAF also requested all telecom consumer rights advocacy groups to enhance their activities and programmes on telecom consumer information and education; and to be involved, in synergy with the Commission, to increase sensitisation on infrastructure protection.

While the meeting commended the attention the issue of telecom infrastructure protection has received from the Federal Government, it also called on the Commission to sustain the administrative advocacy on obtaining Executive Order, as well as the legislative process to ensure the passage of the Critical National Infrastructure Protection Bill by the National Assembly.

The NCC expressed appreciation to members of ICAF for the impressive attendance of the first virtual meeting and for the consistency in being very constructive partners to the Commission since the creation of the Forum in 2009.

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