By Lucy Nwachukwu
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has called for collaboration among Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the Council to ensure healthier relationship in the interest of Nigerian consumers.
Mr Babatunde Irukera, the council’s Director-General made the call in a statement issued by the Head of Public Relations, Mr Abiodun Obimuyiwa.
Irukera made the call while receiving members of the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on consumer protection, led by Omoluabi Adeyemi at the council’s headquarters in Abuja.
According to him, no government anywhere in the world can single-handedly protect its citizens against exploitation.
He acknowledged the positive role being played by civil societies in the country’s development, adding that mutual trust and confidence among CSOs and government would result in more development.
“It is a very important thing that civil societies recognise that there is a split at a certain point and the fine split is when you are talking of a place like the Consumer Protection Council.
“And we are holding each other accountable, not based on the adversarial context but more on a partnership level.
“It is important because if we do not have mutual trust and confidence on how we do our work, we could get to a point that we would not be able to go further.
“That point will not affect your resume or your credentials, neither will it affect ours, it is the society that will be affected.
“There’s nowhere in the world where government is the only one that has ever succeeded in protecting its people, government improves every time because CSOs hold it accountable,’’ he stated.
Irukera assured of the Council’s willingness to work with organisations and civil societies to increase consumer education with the aim of letting people really know their rights.
He reiterated the need for consumer protection to get to the grassroots, stating that market abuse and exploitation were more pronounced in the remote parts of the country.
According to him, more consumer protection activities at this level will force service providers and manufacturers to give more attention to consumers.
The statement also quoted leader of the group as urging the CPC boss to “step up consumer protection and his experience to bear as the chief executive of the Council’’.
“Consumers have faced different untold hardship arising from persons who were supposed to rise up and defend their interests.
“And we feel that Nigeria, under a leadership that believes in change, must change from what it used to be to what it should be.
“So I want to believe that CPC has a onerous task ahead of it and having a personality like you in the saddle, I believe that there will be a radical change”.
He said his coalition had observed that awareness was one major problem with consumers in Nigeria, adding “they don’t even know they have rights or even what those rights are”.
Irukera urged the CPC to ensure Nigerians understand what their rights are.
“Even if you cannot fight for them, let them know their rights; and the kind of Nigerians I know, when they know and understand their rights, they will go all out to fight for it.
“We know CPC does not have the human resources, in terms of numbers to do this as I doubt if there’s any CPC office in my state or in many other states.
“We strongly believe that we can collaborate with this organisation in going out to create awareness”, he added. (NAN)