The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) are collaborating to seek redress for students of Glisten International College, Abuja, from Turkish Airlines over their delayed flight from Houston, USA, to Abuja.
The Director General, Consumer Protection Council, Mr. Babatunde Irukera disclosed this at a forum with representatives of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in Abuja.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, CPC and NCAA said they had opened an inquiry into why the airline delayed the students’ flight from Houston to Istanbul by two hours and why it was negligent in meeting its responsibilities when the students had missed their connecting flight from Istanbul to Abuja.
The Director General of the CPC, Mr. Babatunde Irukera, said the 22 students had attended a Lego Competition in the United States and had hoped to return to Nigeria by Turkish Airlines, which was scheduled to do a stopover at Istanbul for the students to take a connecting flight to Abuja. He said that the delay in Houston, Texas, ultimately resulted in the students missing their connecting flight to Abuja, and it was required of the airline, in line with global best practices, to take responsibility of the students’ accommodation and feeding while in Istanbul.
Mr. Irukera asserted that “it was expected that Turkish Airline, as a matter of law and as a matter of responsibility, would take the responsibility to protect these young people and make appropriate provisions but the report we have from Glisten School, which is the school where the students come from, is that when they arrived at Istanbul, Turkish Airline had not made any arrangement in respect to their continued connection to Abuja”.
Speaking further, he said that “Rules required that the airline would have taken responsibility for that, however, that didn’t happen. These minors and their chaperons were asked to pay to secure a visa to be able to enter Turkey, and at some point, every single one of them had to pay a forty dollars fee just to be able to exit the staging area which is the gate area of the airport.”
The Director General stated that the Council was collaborating with relevant agencies to ensure that consumer rights were no longer taken for granted, adding that “one of the things the CPC is coming up with is an expanded interactive complaint portal.”
“Sooner than later we intend to deploy a mobile application that allows you to complain, essentially what we will do is to make sure that expressing your grievances is not only at no cost but at an extremely convenient manner,” Irukera stated.
On his part, the Director, Consumer Protection Department of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Alhaji Adamu Abdullahi explained that an investigation into this incident was underway.
In his words, “it is according to the regulations of the NCAA that this flight terminates in Nigeria so therefore we have jurisdiction over how passengers on that flight are treated so that is their responsibility and we will ensure that we get to the bottom of it, and find out what it is that happened and the relevant compensations when and if they are applicable will have to be paid and sanctions where applicable will also have to be paid by the airline.”
Alhaji Abdullahi said that the NCAA would collaborate with the CPC to ensure that the affected students obtained redress, pointing out that the airline had been notified, enquiries sought and the responses to these enquiries would determine both agencies’ next line of action.
Both agencies reiterated their commitment to protecting consumers in the aviation sector and urged consumers to always complain to the necessary authorities whenever they feel their rights have been abused.
The wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari has charged Nigerians to always understand their rights as consumers in order to stand up to market abuses which undermine those rights.
Mrs.Buhari said the rights of the consumer must be protected at all times and that those on the wrong side of the law must be made to understand that their rights come to an end where the rights of the consumer begin.
Mrs.Buhari, who was represented by the wife of the Governor of Nasarawa state, Mrs.MairoTankoAlmakura, gave the charge during her investiture as Consumer Ambassador of Nigeria by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) at an event organized by the Council to mark the 2017 World Consumer Rights Day on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 in Abuja.
Mrs.Buhari thanked the Management of the Consumer Protection Council for investing her, saying that the campaign for consumer rights is a noble cause and assured the Council of her support and commitment towards driving the campaign.
Earlier, the Director General of the Council, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, asserted that ignorance is one the biggest banes of Nigerian consumers.
Mrs.Atoki made the assertion on Wednesday during the flag off of the commemoration of 2017 World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) where an investiture of the Wife of the President, Hajia Aisha MuhammaduBuhari as the Nigerian Consumer Ambassador was conducted.
She stated that concerted efforts of all well-meaning Nigerians would be needed to overturn ignorance confronting the Nigerian consumer, pointing out that this informed the investiture of the wife of the president.
According to her, CPC’s mandate for the promotion and protection of the rights of consumers in all areas of their consumption in Nigeria “informed the decision taken on behalf of the Nigerian consumer community to invest the Wife of Mr. President, Her Excellency, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, as a Nigerian Consumer Ambassador.
“CPC believes that the core of its mandate, which is the empowerment of Nigeria's over 170 million consumers, including women and children, falls squarely within the realm of Her Excellency's passion for women and children empowerment. CPC reckons with Her Excellency as a role model and mother of the nation, who has demonstrated unwavering interest and shown great zeal in the empowerment of women” she added.
The DG lauded the role played by the President’s wife in alleviating the plight of internally displaced persons in the north eastern part of the country, who she said were predominantly women and children, by raising funds through her intellectual property away from government resources to meet their needs.
The CPC boss observed that “incidentally, women constitute the largest consumer block in the economy, by virtue of their innate ability and God-given role of making purchase decisions as well as in catering for the needs of the family”.
She added: “We are therefore convinced that if Her Excellency, Hajia Aisha Buhari, will, as Nigerian Consumer Ambassador, bring her passion to bear on the education of consumers, a large population of our citizens, particularly women, will be sensitised to their consumer rights and responsibilities in a very short time”.
Mrs.Atoki disclosed that CPC has not only drawn up a programme to undertake widespread grassroots sensitisation campaign across the country, but has also identified different civil society organisations, including women associations, as contact groups for the campaign in its drive to improve consumer awareness in the country.
She said the exhibition, which the President’s wife inspected to flag off the 2017 commemoration was designed to “foster interaction between consumers, producers and service providers in the digital technology industry”, adding that “a workshop featuring major players in the digital technology industry will be held at this same venue tomorrow (Thursday) to discuss the impact of digital technology as well as provide the necessary guide to consumers on how to operate safely in the digital world”.
CPC commences investigation into safety of additives in NBC’s Fanta and Sprite
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has instituted an investigation into the safety of addictives in Nigerian Bottling Company’s Fanta and Sprite with a view to safeguarding consumers.
The Council’s action came on the heels of a recent court judgment which alleged that consumption of Fanta and Sprite, two products of Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), could be harmful if taken with Vitamin C, the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has instituted an investigation into the issue with a view to safeguarding consumers.
Announcing the Council’s position to the media , CPC’s Director General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, pointed out that the investigation became inevitable in view of the safety issue raised by the judgment.
Mrs. Atoki stated that the Council “is keenly interested and extremely concerned about the questions that have arisen from, and on account of this judgement”, adding that “as such upon the discoveries therein, the CPC is launching a broad and detailed investigation as a matter of urgency”.
She said: “Indeed the judgement only serves as the subject of bringing this information to CPC’s attention, the Council would conduct its own independent investigation. The reason for CPC’s interest is not far-fetched. For years, Fanta, Sprite and Coca Cola have arguably and consistently been the most widely consumed beverages in Nigeria. The spectrum of consumption is also perhaps the widest, with consumption starting as early as age four and far into adult years.
“In addition, Vitamin C is one of the most consumed medications for both children and adults, both as a matter of prescription/ over the counter and, or as dietary supplement. Essentially, both the NBC products and Vitamin C are routinely consumed in Nigeria with absolutely no restrictions to access and availability” she added.
The director general hinted that the key questions in the investigation would include “Is Sprite/Fanta at the time of production potentially harmful to consumers when consumed with Vitamin C? If yes, what is NBC’s obligation to consumers and has NBC fully discharged that obligation?”, adding that “pursuant to the Consumer Protection Council Act, the Council is interested in discovering what steps if any, NBC took after the testing and confiscation of Fanta and Sprite by the United Kingdom’s authorities”.
While fielding questions from journalists at the press conference, Mrs. Atoki asserted that it would be hasty for CPC to make any categorical directive to consumers on the products without carrying out the necessary investigations.
She disclosed that the Council had already engaged NBC in furtherance of the investigation, stating that the bottling company has been given seven days to respond to “us because we asked them for a lot of documentation.
“We want to be free and fair. We do not want to base our decisions on what someone else has analysed. We have given them seven days within which to provide this information. And let me say that this will also involve us inviting experts to testify as to the various components and the effect on the consumers” Mrs. Atoki stated.
On the time frame for the investigation, she said: “To say that it will take two to three weeks or even a month, I may not be able to say so, but because of the urgency, we will fast track all the processes and come to a very quick conclusion”.
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has disclosed that the Wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, will flag off the commemoration of the 2017 World Consumer Rights Day in Abuja on , to further stimulate the country’s crusade against consumer right abuses in the digital age.
The Council, which made this known in a statement over the weekend in Abuja, disclosed that the wife of the president will be performing the ceremony in her capacity as the Consumer Ambassador of Nigeria.
According to the statement, Mrs Buhari will flag off the Day’s commemoration with the inspection of exhibition stands of businesses involved in the use of digital systems, such as banks, e-commerce providers, satellite television providers, manufacturers/providers of computer hardware, telecommunications providers, among others.
CPC disclosed that the investiture of Mrs Buhari as the Consumer Ambassador of Nigeria will be performed on the World Consumer Rights Day, and that soon after the investiture, the President’s wife will conduct an inspection of exhibition stands of businesses mounted to educate consumers on various concerns relating to products and services involved in the use of digital systems.
The Council hinted that the commemoration, whose theme is Building a Digital World Consumers Can Trust, would involve a two-day programme, consisting of the investiture of the President’s wife, a stakeholders’ workshop and consumers’ inspection of exhibition stands of businesses.
The agency said the stakeholders’ workshop, which is scheduled for , will feature presentations from Google, Microsoft, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit, among others.
It will be recalled that CPC on Friday, July 15, 2016, named Mrs. Buhari as the Consumer Ambassador of Nigeria, while flagging off its nationwide grassroots consumer awareness programme with the country’s womenfolk as part of its strategies at stemming consumer abuses in Nigeria.
CPC’s Director General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, made public the Council’s decision with respect to the wife of the President while addressing the National Convention of the National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS) on July 15, 2016 at the Women Development Centre in Abuja
Atoki, while extolling the virtues of the President’s wife at the event, said the Council’s “initiative to ensure Nigerian women know their rights can find no better personality to identify with its cause than Her Excellency, Hajia Aisha Buhari”.
She referred to the committed efforts of Hajia Buhari in taking on the plight of the internally displaced persons (IDPs), who are predominantly women and children, by raising funds to meet the needs of the IDPs outside government resources as exemplary, expressing her conviction that such commitment would safeguard Nigerian women from malpractices of unscrupulous businesses.
The director general added that “CPC as the apex agency for the protection of Nigerian consumers has respectfully sought the consent of Her Excellency, and she has graciously agreed to serve as Nigerian Consumer Ambassador”, stating that “we are indeed very grateful to Her Excellency, who we trust will assist in taking consumer protection to another level under her watch as Nigerian Consumer Ambassador”.
On the 15th March every year the World celebrates World Consumer Rights Day , which is geared towards raising awarness on the rights of consumers in relation to a defined theme. This year , 2017 , the theme on the World Consumer Rights Day is ''Building a digital World Consumers can trust'' which will be associated with a plothera of activities stemming from the use of morden day technology.
The use of internet , mobile phones and other digital technologies is spreading widely around the world. There have been benefits which comes with challanges as well as consumer abuses.
The Council plans to commemorate this day with a two-day activity on the 15th and 16 of March 2017 with the following events:
- Investiture of the wife of the president , Hajiya Aisha Buhari as the Consumer Ambassador of Nigeria.
- A workshop to delibrate on the trending issue in the digital age, including rights and tips for consumers in the digital age
-Expected participants at the events include businesses invoved in the use of digital systemssuch as banks, e-commerce providers,satellite television proviiders, manufacturers/ providers of computer hardware, telecommunication providers, amongs others.
- The event is expected to draw over 1000 participants including the youth ,women groups , business operators, traders Consumer Non-govermental Organisations (NGOs) and consumers of various interest and relevant players in the digital world.
Council is concerned about increase in diseases associated with dairy products such as ice creams and yoghurt. Consequently a team of CPC Inspectors recently inspected the warehouse of FAN Milk Nig PLC in Abuja to check compliance with Good Hygienic Practice and Good Storage Practice (GSP).
The observation of CPC inspectors led to the Council making recommendations to the company and the company signing an undertaking to improve on its hygiene and storage practices.
Below are some pictures of the warehouse and CPC findings.
Dirty curtains at the entrance to the cold room and storage room
Aprons, fan belts, wires and products inside the same storage room.
HOW CPC, SON SHIELDED COMPANY SELLING FAKE TYRES: A REJOINDER
The attention of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has been drawn to a news report, captioned “How CPC, SON shielded company selling fake tyres”, and published in your widely respected on-line medium on Monday, February 13, 2017.
CPC, as a responsible and responsive organisation, feels obliged to put in proper perspective issues raised in the news report, which alleged compromise against its officers, with a view to properly informing your esteemed readers.
Without necessarily rehashing the news report, the complainant, Mr. Obafemi Bolaji, reported his encounter with a tyre dealer, suspected to have altered the production dates of three new tyres he bought in Ibadan to CPC Office in Akure, Ondo State in December 2016.
Mr. Bolaji was said to have been told by the Ondo State Administrator of CPC that he “would bear the cost of fuelling the commission’s vehicle” that would take him and the officials to Ibadan, which he agreed to because he wanted a redress, only to be told that the vehicle was faulty and thereafter was referred to the Akure office of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
CPC wishes to categorically state the following that:
Meanwhile, CPC after receiving an e-mail on the case at its headquarters forwarded same to its South West Zonal Office in Osogbo because of the office proximity to the abode of the complainant and the alleged.
Be informed that a mediation meeting between the two parties, scheduled by the Council’s South West Zonal Office for February 20, 2017, is known to the complainant, Mr. Bolaji, and he has affirmed that his brother will represent him as the scheduled meeting falls within the week of his engagement.
The fact that there has not been any formal physical contact between the complainant and CPC, as the first mediation meeting is still approaching, underlines the fact that the Council did not request for any payment to facilitate movement to Ibadan.
CPC has done this rejoinder because of the high regard it has for your medium and its valuable readers, hoping that similar prominence will be given to its publication as the initial news report had.
Please, accept the warm wishes of the Director General.
Deputy Director (Public Relations)
For: Director General
Samsung Electronics West Africa Limited has complied with the ultimatum given to it by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), requiring it to give a status report on the global recall of Galaxy Note 7 in Nigeria, following reports of explosion of dozens of the device while charging.
The company, which disclosed that the device was yet to be launched in Nigeria, also announced its readiness to provide voluntary exchange to consumers, who may have purchased it elsewhere in the world and brought it into Nigeria.
According to the status report made available to CPC, “customers who already have Galaxy Note 7 devices, Samsung will voluntarily exchange their current device with a new one over the coming weeks”, adding that “customers who have this device should submit it to Samsung authorized Service Centre in Nigeria and it would be replaced in the next coming weeks”.
The company disclosed that though the device was yet to be launched in Nigeria, “we are aware that some persons may have obtained it in one way or another”, stating that it “is currently conducting a thorough inspection with its suppliers to identify possible affected batteries in the market.
“we wish to advise that we have received instructions from Samsung Head Office in Seoul, South Korea, that a voluntary exchange of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (device) would need to be conducted”, Samsung added.
The company said though the incidents associated with the defective battery of the device were yet to be reported to have occurred in the country, “we are working closely with our partners to ensure the exchange experience is convenient and efficient as possible”.
It assured that “Samsung will fully cooperate with the recommendations of Consumer Protection Council as customer safety is our greatest priority”.
Following reports of explosion of dozens of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 while charging, CPC issued a seven-day ultimatum to Samsung Electronics West Africa Limited to provide information on the full status of its compliance with the global directive of Samsung on the recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
The Council also demanded Samsung Electronics West Africa Limited to furnish it with other measures the company may have taken to safeguard the safety and interest of Nigerian consumers.