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Telecoms regulator warns cellphone dealers, consumers against non-type approved devices

*The Nigerian Communications Commission sensitises cellphone dealers and consumers at the GSM Village, Abuja, on the danger of buying or selling non-type approved technological devices

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As part of its consumer  sensitisation and education mandate on the danger unapproved devices, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has cautioned cellphone sellers against buying or selling non-type approved devices in the West African country.

ConsumerConnect gathered the telecoms sector regulatory Commission issued the warning Thursday, July 27, 2023, at a consumer sensitisation programme at the GSM Village, Abuja, FCT.

Dr. Emilia Nwokolo, Deputy Director of Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB) of NCC, said there was the need to sensitise sellers at the market so they would not flout regulations on selling non-type approved devices.

Nwokolo, who represented Mr. Alkassim Umar, Director of CAB, said the Bureau was activating its mandate to sensitise the consumers at the GSM Village.

The CAB Deputy Director disclosed there are other departments in the NCC responsible for monitoring and the enforcement in the market, agency report said.

Nwokolo explained: “As you know, this is the GSM village and they deal in all these devices, phones, laptops and others.

“And the essence of coming here is to sensitise them on the danger of selling Non-Type approved devices.

The Commission equally noted: “Normally in NCC, we approve the devices that can be sold in the Nigerian Market because some of them are substandard.

“So, we don’t want the substandard devices to be in circulation in the market.”

Dr. Nwokolo said, “based on that we need to sensitise them to know the danger of selling such Non-type approved devices.

“We are doing our bid to sensitise them, but there are other departments in the NCC responsible that go about doing the monitoring and the enforcement.”

She further stated: “First of all, before you bring in telecom devices, you have to seek approval from NCC so we have to check it; and if it is okay, we go ahead and type approved it.

“There is already a fine actually if you are caught selling Non-type approved devices.”

The Commission, Dr. Nwokolo recalled, established the CAB 2001 with the mandate to Protect, Inform and Educate (PIE) telecoms consumers on their rights and privileges.

ConsumerConnect reports the CAB is the interface between the Nigerian telecoms consumers and service providers.

Market taskforce monitors  standardisation of devices: Market Chair

Speaking during the consumer sensitisation programme in Abuja, Mr. Macdonald Ajuogu, Chairman of GSM Village (Market) Abuja, said the market union also has a taskforce that monitors type and standard of devices sold in the market.

Ajuogu noted that they have measures in place to sanction any member who defaults in this regard.

“We have a platform in the market whereby anybody who deals with  cellphones in the market is registered with the union, and we also have a taskforce that always checks on everything that is being done in the market.

“If it happens that somebody is selling a product either phone or computer, we have members that deal in computers.

“The taskforce always monitors the proper distribution of these goods in this market,” stated he.

Ajuogu further explained “if there is anybody that is found wanting, the task force will always confiscate their goods.

“Although sometimes some of our members always cut corners, trying to do one or two things, we always advise them not to deal with non-type approved phones or laptops in the market.”

The Chairman said: “We don’t call it non-type approved phones in this market; we call them Chinco phones.

“So, we always advise them not to indulge in it.  We want them to be sincere with their customers.”

Penalties for members on market infractions

In respect of members of the GSM market, who breach the standardisation rules, Ajuogu said: “We have not been doing anything in terms of informing the NCC.

’’What we do is to sanction them because we have a constitution that states that when you violate the standard you are either fined or you are suspended.”

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