As Lagos State Government joins the rest of the world to celebrate the Y2022 World Consumer Rights Day, service providers, manufacturers, businessmen and women have been advised to prioritise the interest and satisfaction of their customers or face appropriate sanctions from the government.
Addressing participants at an event put together by Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency (LASCOPA) to commemorate the day in Lagos, the Honourable Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Dr. (Mrs) Lola Akande, assured the consuming public that the State Government will ensure that their rights are protected at all times.
She emphasised that the celebration, held at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Conference and Exhibition Centre, CBD, Alausa, Ikeja on Tuesday, provided an avenue to demand that the rights of all consumers should be respected and protected while protesting against market abuses and social injustices which undermine those rights.
On the vital role of LASCOPA, Mrs. Akande explained that the State Government, having observed that so many people do not know their rights as consumers, approved the establishment of the agency to serve as the last hope for aggrieved and dissatisfied consumers.
Highlighting some of the rights of the consumer, the Commissioner said that consumers have the right to safety and a healthy environment, the right to seek redress, to basic needs among others, noting also that service providers, marketers and business people have rights as well.
“If consumers are having any problem, we will ensure their rights are protected and if need be, sanctions will be meted out to those who violate the rights of consumers, be it companies, banks or law enforcers. I, therefore, urge LASCOPA to keep sensitising the people on their rights and the need for their rights to be protected at all times”, she stated.
In her contribution, the Chairman of the Board of LASCOPA, Mrs. Funmi Falana, maintained that the rights of consumers must be protected so that injustice can be addressed under the law.
Speaking on the theme for the event, she maintained that digital technology is presently influencing purchases and management of investment, the same way the advent of COVID-19 changed the way things are done generally.
Falana, who was represented by a member of the LASCOPA Board, Mrs. Lekan Rotimi, advocated the positive use of technology to better the lots of consumers, lessen their burden and improve on services rendered to them as against leveraging on technology to bring more discomfort to the consuming public.
In his welcome address, the General Manager, LASCOPA, Mr. Afolabi Solebo, advised Lagosians not to keep quiet when their rights as consumers are abused but instead, avail themselves of the various opportunities and services being rendered by the agency.
He cited the instances of interventions of the agency in different cases of abuse of consumers’ rights and how LASCOPA was able to secure compensation and refund as the case may be for affected persons.
Warning consumers to guide against the misuse of online activities that make them prone to scams, the General Manager reminded service providers of the need to treat their customers as kings, stressing that without customers/consumers there would be no patronage for their services.
He also implored the service providers to ensure that consumers have the right information about the services being offered and a clear understanding of their modus operandi such that there would be little or no misunderstanding between both parties.
The annual celebration of Consumer Rights Day is observed every year precisely on 15th March, as a way of raising global awareness about consumers’ rights and needs, while also creating the consciousness of consumer satisfaction in the minds of service providers and business people.