By Niyi Jacobs
Following the re-structuring and re-branding of its existing consumer outreach programmes, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has held the maiden edition of the Campus Conversation at the University of Abuja. Campus Conversation is featured as an important part of NCC’s new Telecom Consumer Conversation (TCC).
Speaking at the event, which held at the Main Campus of the University of Abuja at the weekend, NCC’s Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Efosa Idehen, said the Commission, as a consumer-centric regulator, has always been at the forefront of protecting the interest of the consumers.
He said the Commission has, over the years, embarked on many initiatives and programmes to deliver on its consumer protection mandate, as enshrined in the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003 and in line with other subsidiary legislations, guidelines, directions and determinations, in order to proactively address consumer concerns.
Idehen stated that, as a modified outreach programme, Campus Conversation takes life from NCC’s consumer protection and empowerment agenda as stipulated in the Commission’s Strategic Management and Vision Plans, as well as extant policies and well-conceived decisions of Management.
The objective of the Conversation is to ensure that the telecom consumers on university campuses are adequately informed and educated on their rights and privileges to acquire knowledge they require to take informed decision and protect themselves from unwholesome practices from service providers.
“Essentially, this maiden edition of our Campus Conversation is kicking off here at the University of Abuja today, as part of our strategic effort at creating awareness among the university students on their rights and obligations as telecoms consumers, as well as sensitising them on the many initiatives of the Commission designed to enhance consumer protection and empowerment,” Idehen said.
At the event, the NCC team led by Idehen, took turns to educate the campus community on Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) registration, the Benefits of National Identity Number (NIN)-SIM Integration, Cybersecurity and related online protection issues, among other initiatives of the NCC.
Participants were also enlightened on the various consumer-centric activities of NCC such as the NCC Consumer Complaint Toll-free Number 622; the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) Short Code 2442 instituted to manage unsolicited messages; the National Emergency Toll-free Number 112 which every citizen is expected to know and use during emergencies. Over twenty Emergency Communication Centres (ECCs) where 112 calls are received and escalated, have been constructed by the NCC and operational in different states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
Other Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials printed in bookmarks, handbills and stickers were distributed. The IECs cover a wide-range of topics on consumer concerns, including Consumer Bill of Rights, Complaints Management Process, Mobile Number Portability (MNP), SIM Registration, Obligations of Telecom Service Providers and the Consumers, and Tips on Managing Data Usage.
The event provided a rare opportunity to the students and other members of the University community to interface with the Commission. The NCC team responded to questions and comments relating to the participants’ experience with telecom services.
The Vice-Chancellor of University of Abuja, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, who was represented at the forum by the University’s Head of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department, Dr. Evans Ashigwuike, commended the NCC for the elaborate enlightenment programme hosted in the university community, which he described as highly beneficial to the students.
Na’Allah assured the Commission that the University will ensure that students, who attended the Consumer Conversation pass the knowledge gained and the IEC materials circulated by NCC to their fellow students for effective knowledge-sharing and education.
The TCC, now segmented and targeted at different consumer groups, comprises: The Village Square Dialogue, The Telecom Public Sphere, The Professionals’ Dialogue, Campus Conversation, Market Conversation and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Sensitization.
Aside the TCC, other strategic outreach programmes of the Commission, delivered through its Consumer Affairs Bureau, include Consumer Telecom Town Halls on Radio, a phone-in radio dialogic programme to educate consumers at the grassroots; Telecom and The Citizen, a bi-monthly Twitter Live Chat targeting telecom consumers that are active on the social media; and Telecom TV Dialogue, a monthly television-based discourse on topical telecom issues.