The Inauguration Ceremony and official launch of the Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF) was held on Tuesday, 10th February 2009 at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Conference room in Abuja. The Ceremony commenced at 11:00am and was presided over by Engr. Ernest Ndukwe, the Executive Vice- Chairman of the Commission.
In attendance were: The Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Commissioners of the Board of NCC, members of the Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF), representatives of Consumer Advocacy Groups, representatives of Challenged Groups, Service Providers, Gentlemen of the Press and the Management Staff of the NCC.
THE EXECUTIVE VICE CHAIRMAN’S OPENING REMARKS
The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) – Engr. Ernest Ndukwe welcomed all guests to the ceremony and stated that the Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF) was being formally launched to act in an advisory capacity, make recommendations to the Commission regarding the interests and concerns of consumers of ICT products and services including the interests and concerns of persons with disabilities (special needs) and the elderly. The Forum would also ensure that consumers are well protected from unfair practices. He added that the Forum will facilitate the review of the Consumer Code of Practice Regulations, 2007 as well as make recommendations on all issues to the Commission and on any other matter the Commission may direct.
In his remarks, the EVC emphatically stated that the Nigerian ICT Consumer was a major stakeholder in the industry and thus enjoys a primary focus at the NCC. He added that there are different kinds of consumers with different needs and expectations from the industry; it was therefore the responsibility of the NCC – the Regulatory Body to see that the industry satisfies the various needs and expectations of the different classes of stakeholders in the Industry.
NCC’S INITIATIVES TOWARDS CONSUMER PROTECTION AND SATISFACTION
The EVC stated that the NCC has been very active in safeguarding the interests of the consumers. Efforts geared towards ensuring that Consumers are better served were as follows: facilitation of investments into the Country, ensuring national spread, facilitating rural access, licensing new operators, holding consumer outreach programs and consumer parliament sessions, ensuring service availability, facilitating number portability, establishing an NCC Contact Center, providing computers and internet facilities in schools, holding town hall meetings in the rural areas, supporting various Consumer Advocacy Groups, ensuring that Operators deal promptly with consumer queries and requirements and protecting consumers from unfair practices by Service Providers.
He stated that the ICAF initiative was very much in line with the focus of the NCC which was ensuring that the interest of consumers is at all times well protected.
He added that the members of the Forum were selected based on their expertise and wealth of knowledge in their various areas of specialization. These areas of specialization include Consumer Advocacy Groups (CAGs), the Challenged Groups, Service Providers, Specialized User Groups (CUGs), Community representation, academia, etc. Members of ICAF include:
- Mrs. Ifeyinwa Umenyi, Director General – Consumer Protection Council (CPC) – Chairperson (Industry Consumer Advisory Forum).
- Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, President – Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON).
- Engr. Kashim Abdul Ali, FNSE, President – Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE).
- Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, President – Association of Licensed Telecommunications operator of Nigeria (ALTON).
- Dr. Mrs. Felicia Monye, President – Consumer Awareness Organization (CAO).
- Sir Peter O. Edeoghon, FNIM, President and Chairman of Council – Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM).
- Mrs. Alero Edu, President – Consumer Rights Project (CRP).
- Dr. Prosper Ikechukwu Igboeli, President – Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
- Dr. Chris Nwanoro, President – National Disabled Empowerment Forum (NADEF).
- Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, President – Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
- Alhaji Garba Bello Kankorofi, FRPA, Registrar / Chief Executive Officer – Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON).
- Mrs. Lolia S. Emakpore – Designated NCC Officer (DNO).
He congratulated the newly appointed ICAF members on their recognition and appointment to serve on this national assignment. He stated that it was the Commission’s belief and expectation that the ICAF inauguration would further boost NCC’s effort towards improving consumer protection and ensuring high quality service provision.
He concluded his remarks by inviting the Chairman of the Commission –Alhaji Ahmed Joda to formally inaugurate the Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF).
INAUGURATION OF INDUSTRY CONSUMER ADVISORY FORUM BY THE CHAIRMAN, NIGERIAN COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (NCC)
The Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) – Alhaji Ahmed Joda who presided over the inauguration ceremony stated that the Commission was fully determined towards ensuring that the interests of telecom consumers in the Country are well protected.
He congratulated the newly appointed members of the Forum and urged them to work assiduously to compliment various efforts of the Commission in this direction.
RESPONSE BY THE CHAIRPERSON –INDUSTRY CONSUMER ADVISORY FORUM (ICAF), MRS IFY UMENYI, DIRECTOR – GENERAL CONSUMER PROTECTION COUNCIL (CPC).
The Chairperson, Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF) – Mrs. Ify Umenyi, the Director General of Consumer Protection Council (CPC) in her response on behalf of the ICAF members gave her profound gratitude to the Commission on its initiative in protecting and promoting the interest of Telecom Consumers which includes persons with disabilities (Special needs) and the elderly in the Country. She pointed to the fact that consumers are the primary reason for every business; and as such they deserve to get value for whatever money they spend.
She added that the membership of Forum, which cuts across different strata in the Society, would act in an advisory capacity and make recommendations to the Commission regarding the interests and concerns of consumers of ICT products and services in the Country.
She expressed her profound gratitude on behalf of other ICAF members on the opportunity to serve as pioneer members of the Forum and pledged their unwavering loyalty to the Commission.
She further reminded members of the Forum of their should-be commitment in words and action to ensure that the quality of advice given would create a positive change bearing in mind the state of services currently being offered to consumers. She re-affirmed the members’ commitment to abide by the Charter that set up the Forum.
She concluded with an assurance to the Executive Vice- Chairman of the NCC on their determination to succeed, with all necessary support given by the Commission.
VOTE OF THANKS BY DESIGNATED NCC OFFICER (DNO) – DIRECTOR – CONSUMER AFFAIRS BUREAU.
The vote of thanks was delivered by the Designated NCC Officer – Mrs. Lolia S. Emakpore – Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau. She commended the Executive Vice- Chairman of the NCC on his efforts in ensuring that there is a conducive environment between Service Providers and the Consumers, and also for making the Commission a good representative of the Country.
She advised the newly inaugurated ICAF members to be fully committed towards ensuring quality service provision by Service Providers in all parts of the Country and to all Consumers.
She thanked all for coming and wished them a safe journey back to their respective destinations.
The Inauguration Ceremony came to a close at 12.30pm with a Group photograph session by the ICAF members and NCC Board members. There were also light refreshments before guests departed to their various destinations.