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Friday, 17 March 2017 12:37


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The World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) was celebrated, worldwide, on the 15th day of March, 2017. The theme of this year’s WCRD, was ‘Building a Digital Age Consumers can Trust’. Our dear nation was not left out of this celebration, as the Consumer Protection Council organised a workshop, where various resource persons, and stakeholders, in the digital industry, came together, to find solutions to the detriments of digitization in today’s world.

The Country Director of ‘Save the Consumers’ NGO, Dr. Aliyu Ilias, was one of the main resource persons for the event. He made himself available for the programme, with a knowledge packed presentation, on the topic ‘‘Consumer Concerns in the Digital Age, and the Way Forward’’.

Dr. Ilias presented the topic, with so much poise, and comprehension for the audience. He made it known, that ‘All that is Digital, is not gold’. ‘‘It is high time consumers had full trust for, and understanding of the digital world’’, He said.

He also pointed out some of the concerns of digital age consumers, as identity theft, deceptive marketing, or advertising, and Credit/Debit card fraud, among so many others.

According to Dr. Ilias, a survey was carried out by Save the Consumers, in twelve (12) States in Nigeria, two from each geo-political zone. Some of these states are Lagos, Rivers, Abia, and Abuja, among others. The results of this survey, gotten from about One thousand (1000) respondents, showed that seventy percent (70%) of consumers receive unverifiable BVN messages, on a regular basis. In the same vein, 77% of consumers, also receive unwanted texts, and calls, from telemarketers. The respondents did not fail to give their two cents about internet fraudsters, as the survey showed that forty-nine percent (49%) of them, feared that their social media accounts may be hacked.

Ilias also buttressed a fact, that google barometer currently shows that sixty-five (65%) of Nigerian credit/debit card holders, have been contacted by some online companies, to engage in one seemingly fraudulent transaction, or the other. He went ahead to explain the way forward, in this age of digitization. ‘‘Everyone has a part to play in creating a digital world, which is safe for the Nigerian Consumer’’, He expressed.

Dr. Aliyu Ilias, went on to say ‘‘Consumers, the Government, Businesses, NGOs, and Media outifts, have to come together, in partnership, to make this work’’. He stressed that first of all, the Government must increase funding for consumer protection initiatives, such as CPC, SON,NAFDAC, etc, to carry out their duties to consumers. The Government must also enact laws, which ensure consumer safety.

Businesses, NGOs, and media houses, on the other hand, must research, and develop new ideas for online, and digital safety, then, educate consumers on their rights, ensure business compliance, in line with the wellbeing of consumers, and continuously advocate for better ways, through which organisations, and consumers can interface, in the digital world.

To sum it all up, Dr. Ilias appealed to consumers, to always verify the authenticity of all online products, before they go ahead to patronise them. Consumers must also keep all personal information safe, and not to strangers, until such a person has fully earned the trust of the consumer. 

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