The NCC Team at 'Shine Your Eyes, No Fall Mugu' Consumer Advocacy Initiative in Benin City Photo: NCC

Telecoms regulator’s central mandate is to ensure consumer protection ─NCC

*The Nigerian Communications Commission says it has collaboratively been creating awareness and remodelling programmes appropriately and implementing new initiatives, including ‘Shine Your Eyes’ to share information, educate consumers, and urge them to take informed decisions to enhance their protection

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Reemphasising one of its central mandates is to promote and protect the interests of the telecoms consumers, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) again, has urged consumers to be wary of what they do on the Internet, and individuals they allow to access their communication devices.

ConsumerConnect reports the regulatory Commission made the declaration in Benin, Edo State capital, during at the recent first edition of a consumer advocacy initiative tagged: “Shine Your Eyes, No Fall Mugu”, facilitated by the Commission’s Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB).

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, in his address on the occasion, said the Commission demonstrated its seriousness in protecting consumer interests with the creation in 2001 of CAB as full-fledged department to oversee the fulfilment of that mandate.

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Represented at the forum by Mr. Efosa Idehen, Director of Consumer Affairs Bureau of the Commission, Danbatta noted that the Commission had been able to actualise the mandate through strategic collaboration with consumer advocacy groups and relevant stakeholders in Nigeria.

According to the EVC/CEO, the NCC has collaboratively been creating awareness and remodelling programmes appropriately and implementing new initiatives, such as ‘Shine Your Eyes’, in order to share information and educate the consumers, and to nudge them to take informed decisions to enhance their protection.

According to Danbatta, due to increased accessibility to the resources of the Internet, facilitated by the NCC, as the national regulatory authority for telecommunications in Nigeria, millions of telecoms consumers are also experiencing rise in tempo and sophistication of cybercrimes.

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He asserted that financial fraud has been on the increase, and has been quite concerning for the Commission, which is determined to ensure that telecom platforms are not used to perpetrate crimes.

Danbatta further indicated the NCC is determined to heighten existing collaborations with all stakeholders to mitigate, and ultimately, stop the risk factor widely associated with the use of electronic payment systems.

He also informed the gathering that ‘Shine Your Eyes, No Fall Mugu’ is implemented by NCC, targeting a segment of consumers, especially artisans and localised entrepreneurs. The CEO of NCC explained that the use of localised language for the advocacy is meant to ensure that the target audience have a robust meaning exchange with the Commission in contexts that make meaning to them.

The participants should ensure that they are able to recall the mobile number of at least, a person with whom they relate closely, so they can call such persons for assistance if they get stranded or lose their phones to criminals, Danbatta noted.

A cross-section of participants at the forum

Also making a presentation at the event, Dr. Alhassan Haru, Director of New Media and Information Security (DNMIS) at NCC, corroborated Prof. Danbatta’s admonition to the consumers by advising participants to eschew certain practices if they want to safeguard unauthorised access to their financial and other sensitive information online.

READ ALSO: Telecoms Regulator Celebrates National Cybersecurity Awareness 2021 In Nigeria

Dr. Haru stated: “It is improper to give other people your Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) to help you do online transactions because the identity of the real card owner and the security of financial assets may be compromised in the process.”

The NCC DNMIS, among other measures, advised consumers against sharing phones and other devices with other persons who may use them for criminal purposes; and the use of birth dates or other easy-to-guess figures as passwords for phones and devices, which can be decoded easily by close friends that may invade privacy of others for criminal purposes.

Haru also counselled participants to be wary of what they post online.

“It is better to be thoughtful. So, stop, think before you act. The Internet does not forget,” said he to stress the permanence of content posted online.

The Commission said the event in Benin was attended by a variety of participants, including artisans, retailers and other entrepreneurs, who contributed actively and took the opportunity to ask questions from Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).

The MNOs also participated and helped to give clarifications sought by participants about mobile and related services at the forum.

Some participants, NCC added, also used the event to process their National Identification Number (NIN)─Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) integration at the kiosks of the MNOs stationed near the venue of the event.

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