The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta has hinted that the commission was concluding processes to issue regulation on Electronic Waste and tackle plastic pollution in the country.
Prof. Danbatta spoke in Abuja Today in a Press Conference organized by the commission to commemorate the World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) for the year 2021; It’s observed every 15th day of March.
He said, NCC was equally mindful of the fact that many ICT and telecom devices have plastic components, whose waste materials could worsen plastic pollution in Nigeria.
He noted that the objective of the Regulation was to manage E-Waste; promote reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery; improve environmental management system of operators in the telecom industry; and reduce greenhouse emissions as well as enhance sustainable development efforts.
This year’s WCRD global theme, “Tackling Plastic Pollution”, is aimed at raising awareness and engaging consumers globally to adopt and promote more sustainable practices which will also focus on the central role that consumer advocates, governments and businesses can play in tackling the global plastic pollution crisis.
With over 200 million mobile voice subscribers and over 150 million Internet users in the country, the Commission has, over the years, demonstrated its commitment towards protecting telecom consumers, making it one of the most consumer-centric public institutions in the country.
He said, the NCC Act 2003 – enjoins the Commission to protect the interest of the consumers, which the Commission has done religiously, through subsidiary legislations, guidelines and directions that proactively address consumer concerns and stipulate responsibilities of all stakeholders.
“We had made declarations to curtail excesses of some operators and to expand the frontiers of freedom for the consumers. Warnings had been handed out and fines have been imposed on erring operators.
“Determinations have also been made by the Commission to ensure consumers are neither short changed nor denied their privileges and rights.
“The NCC demonstrated the foregoing to reveal the extent it could go to defend and protect the interests of telecom consumers; and to successively restate its commitment to its ethos of fairness, firmness and forthrightness – the doctrinal tripod of its regulatory mandate.
“Today, and right here, we are unveiling a new Consumer Handbook – a compendium of consumer information materials compiled to enhance education and protection of the consumer,” he said.
According to him, “the specially created toll-free number 622 and DND short code 2442, are as active as ever.
“They are emplaced respectively to enable consumers to escalate unresolved complaints earlier reported to service providers, and to manage unsolicited messages.
“Just last month, we provided evidence that “NCC’s DND crashesunsolicited SMS by 96.6% in three years”.
“Also, the results we are getting through the NCC Toll-free Number 622 has been phenomenal.
“Thousands of complaints have been received from consumers and escalated by the Commission to service providers for quick resolution to the satisfaction of affected consumers.
“In our latest report, of the 11,327 genuine consumer complaints received through the 622 between 2019 and 2020, 11,288 which translate to 99.1%, have been successfully resolved,” he said.
Danbatta said, in view of the challenges of security in the country, the Commission has completed and launched Emergency Communications Centers (ECCs) in 18 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
He informed that the toll-free three-digit 112 Emergency Number is created to bring succour and necessary assistance from appropriate Response Agencies (RAs) to address emergency needs of citizens.
He assures that the Commission would not rest on its oars until the challenges of telecoms consumers have been reduced to the barest minimum.
He thanked the Media for being consistent partners in diffusing information about activities of the Commission promptly and in contexts that make meaning to the telecom consumers, the general public and other stakeholders.
Earlier, in his Welcome Remarks, the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Barrister Adeleke Adewolu said, “in 2017, NCC expressed unequivocal commitment to the centrality of the telecom consumer in the telecom ecosystem by declaring that Year as Year of the Telecom Consumers.
“Before then and after, we have been unwavering in our commitment to the primacy of the consumer in the architecture of telecommunications industry in Nigeria. For this reason, the NCC has received many awards, and we will not rest on our oars,” he said.