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The Lamido of Adamawa, Dr. Muhammadu Mustapha, has commended the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on a range of its telecom consumer protection initiatives, including the recent Village Square Dialogue (VSD), which held at the weekend in Yola, Adamawa State.

Kakakin Adamawa, Prof. Abubakar Tahir, who represented Lamido Adamawa at the Consumer Conversation programme of the Commission with the theme: “Know Your Rights as Telecom Consumers” in Yola, said the event marked a privilege for individual telecom consumers and businesses in the state to ask questions and get face-to-face response from the regulator on telecom-related issues.

“We must commend the NCC for the great work it has been doing in the area of consumer education and enlightenment. Aside from being the regulator of the sector, the NCC leadership has taken the issue of consumer information very central; and we thank you for bringing this laudable initiative to the good people of Adamawa,” he said.

The royal father advised the Commission to also consider exploring other areas that can lead to further reduction in the cost of telecom services and to ensure that services are available in most parts of the country.

“The Commission should kindly look inwards and ensure that all communities in the country continue to enjoy cheaper, better, qualitative and more accessible telecommunications services,” he said.

NCC’s Director of Consumer Affairs, Alkasim Umar, who represented the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the regulator has always been at the forefront of ensuring maximum protection for telecom consumers while providing the enabling environment for the licensed service providers to be able to provide good quality of service to the consumers.

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“The NCC remains committed to its mandate of protecting, informing and educating consumers of telecoms services across all the 36 states of the Federation including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This essence of the Village Square Dialogue, as one of our outreach events, is to provide a face-to-face interaction among the NCC, the service providers and the consumers,” Umar said.

Speaking on some of the consumer-centric initiatives of the Commission, Umar said the Commission recently introduced the harmonized shortcodes which provide uniform codes for telecom consumers to access any consumer service type across all networks, either for airtime loading, checking airtime balance, call centres, data plan balance, and so on.

He also reminded the consumers of the availability of the NCC Toll-Free Number, 622, which consumers can use to make complaints to the Commission on any telecom service-related issues they may be having with their service providers; the 112 Emergency Number to seek succour during emergencies, as well as the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 Short Code to block unsolicited messages.

“Information and education are key to the empowerment of telecom consumers. The protection of the rights and interests of telecom consumers is one of the mandates of the Commission, as enshrined in the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003. When telecom consumers are duly informed and educated, they are protected against the unfair practices by the service providers,” Umar said.

Speaking further, Umar said everything in the current digital world revolves around telecommunications services and that educating consumers plays an important role in informing them, clarifying issues, and empowering them through information and enlightenment.

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“So, it is a great decision which will sensitize the people about their rights, their privileges and the expectations they have about the telecom businesses in the country,” he added.

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