The Commission’s leadership Presided over by the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, thus on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 in Abuja, declared 2017, year of the consumer, with a plan to flag off this strategic campaign on off nationwide, to unveil the strategy and series of activities aimed at empowering and protecting the consumers of telecommunications services in Nigeria.

Improving experience: As said by him, during the course of the year, 2017, NCC would like to see improved experience on the part of the consumer as it was the major focus of the Commission working with other key stakeholders vital to the success of the campaign. Hence, the EVC Danbatta, told consumers in Abuja that their protection and empowerment is one of the eight pillars of the 8-Point Agenda of his administration, in reaffirmation of Commission’s dedication to the year to the welfare of telecom consumers.

The flag off for the year round programme, which held at the NCC headquarters in Abuja, Danbatta said, attracted expectedly consumers across the country, top government officials and key stakeholders in the industry, thus coinciding with the commemoration of the World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD), 2017, whose theme was ‘Building a Digital World Consumers Can Trust’”.

Eyes on KPI for Quality of Service: Additionally, Ojobo said that key components of the Year of the Consumer include creation of greater awareness on Quality of Service, Electromagnetic Fields (EMF), Do Not Disturb (DND), and NCCs 622 complaint line. Stressing that the campaign was structured to secure the support of network operators towards meeting set targets and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on quality of services, especially as it affects drop calls. He further said, the year is anticipated to witness a massive awareness drive to make consumers take advantage of the Commission’s unique programmes such as the Do-Not-Disturb Code, 2442, which consumers can use to stop unsolicited text messages; and toll free number 622 with which consumers could reach the Commission in cases where the service providers fail to resolve their complaints. NCC equally promised that the Year of the Telecom Consumer 2017, will be spectacular with a new programme tagged “NCC Consumer Conversations” and even as the Commission planned for different locations across the geopolitical zones for stakeholders’ interaction and consumer information empowerment.

Lagos steals the show: In keeping with its promise, (NCC) has flagged off the 2017 Year of Nigerian Telecom Consumer in Lagos, the nation’s commercial nerve centre and home to over 50 per cent of the telecommunications network operators and by extension the consumers.

DigitalSENSE Business News reports that the flag-off came as NCC unveiled two Nigerian Artistes, Helen Paul aka Tatafo and Ali Nuhu as the Telecom Consumer brand ambassadors. At the De Blue Roof, Agidingbi-Lagos, the Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management at NCC, Mr. Sunday Dare, welcomed consumers on behalf of the Commission, and noted that the Abuja leg was unveiled on March 15 at the Commission’s headquarters, Abuja, but Lagos, obviously stole the show, describing the occasion as significant. Also, Mr. Dare pointed out that this was because NCC singled out the consumer and dedicated a year of activities towards safeguarding the rights, protecting the interests and empowering the consumer to make informed decisions.

Nigeria dominates African telecom space: “It was for us at NCC a day of great significance, just as today is also,” he declared, adding that the consumer is one of the key stakeholders in the stakeholder ladder of the NCC. The Commissioner noted that “With a base of over 154 million subscribers, the Nigerian consumers dominate the African telecommunications landscape.” For the EVC, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, relaunching of NCC 2017 Year of the Nigerian Telecom Consumer in Lagos, was to emphasise the position of Lagos State as the telecommunications hub of Nigeria, and quoted the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its first quarter telecommunications sector report for 2016, as placing Lagos voice subscriber base at 19.04 million or 12.8 per cent of the country’s subscribers and 12.62 million internet subscription or 13.65 per cent. He explained that “The state is home to many of the key players in the telecommunications sector so it is understandable that it has been selected as the flag off city after the major event in Abuja on March 15 2017,” just as Danbatta the NCC 2017 Year of the Nigerian Telecom Consumer, is remarkable because it is the center stage, bearing in mind that these consumers together have made all the success stories “we speak about possible in the telecom industry today.”

Here come consumer ambassadors: He pointed out that the Year 2017 is dedicated to the Nigerian Telecom Consumer following a management decision that compels NCC to seek to amplify the year’s activities towards ensuring that the consumer enjoys a customer experience that is enhanced and consistent in time and quality. D a n b a t t a assured that t h r o u g h o u t 2017, and beyond, the Consumer will remain the focus of NCC, revealing that the Commission intends to inform and educate the consumer with the sole intent of protecting and empowering them to make the right decisions. The height of the occasion was the occasion of unveiling of the 2017 Year of Telecom Consumer brand ambassadors, Helen Paul, aka Tatafo and Ali Nuhu, also known as the emir of Kannywood by the EVC. Both ambassadors promised to do their best in carrying the focus of the 2017 Year of Telecom Consumer, which will be delivered in multiple local languages across Nigeria.

Question Time: Yes, the year has come and almost gone. The question now on the lips of industry watchers is how has NCC fared in its delivery of the avowed messages of protecting and empowering consumers and what are the likely feedbacks and lessons learnt. For some of the industry watchers, NCC has done well at onset but eventually did not meet their individual and industry targets, especially in outreach, mostly for the online adolescents otherwise known as netizens. A young telecom consumer, Ucha Ukpa, told DigitalSENSE Business News that he expected NCC as promised during the launch in Lagos to optimise online media. Nigeria, he said, now have formidable online newspapers, especially those with special interest in the telecommunications sector development. This, Ms Ada Onuekwu added, will compliment a few campaigns she has heard on the radio wave, while calling for an increase in the radio to be extended to more radio stations. Kunle Abule, agreed on the fact of sustained campaign to ensure it permeates the average elite in the society, who has the capacity to do consumer-to-consumer advocacy, as the issue of call drops seem to have taken a leave.

Mainstream the Passmark: Above, Onuekwu, Ukpa and Abule, gave NCC, on average, ‘passmark’ with additional comments of encouragement to improve on what have been achieved so far, while calling on the likes of other public service oriented institutions to emulate NCC in working towards a better consumer experience. As Nigerian telecommunications consumers look forward to having another agenda among the 8-point agenda mainstreamed or better still, escalate the season 1 into season 2 of ‘The Year of the Consumer’ it is anticipated that 2018 definitely will be better and to the sustained growth of the telecom industry, after all, every year is intrinsically ‘a year of the consumer.

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