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APPA Calls for Support for CPC to Protect Rights of eConsumers

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Princewill Okorie, president, Association for Public Policy Analysis (APPA) has urged the Federal Government and various stakeholders to support the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) to protect the rights of Nigerian e-consumers.

 

Okorie’s call was contained in a communiqué by APPA at the end of its eCommerce Consumer Protection Forum in Abuja.

 

According to Okorie, the derivative principles of state policy in the constitution and the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights give reasons for protecting e-consumers right.

 

Okorie said: “There have been agitations by consumers, especially those who conduct businesses electronically (e-consumers) on the nature of services they receive from electricity, telecommunication and bank service providers.

 

“These service providers are in the habit of exploiting consumers thereby abusing their fundamental rights as citizens.

 

“Also, regulators, rather than protect consumers, connive with service providers to exploit unsuspecting consumers and this should be seen as an affront on government’s determination to protect her citizens and fight corruption.

 

“Hence, the Federal Ministry of Justice and National Human Rights Commission should support CPC in protecting the rights of Nigerian e-consumers.”

 

Okorie urged CPC to publicise the principles it agreed on with on-line marketers to guide their operations for e-consumers protection and ensure regulators respond to e-consumer offenses.

 

He also called on CPC to encourage the formation of voluntary consumer groups for consumers’ well-being, as existence of such groups would enhance advocacy for enforcement, monitoring and evaluation of regulators.

 

He said the Abuja Municipal Area Council should set up a committee to take e-consumers enlightenment to all the political wards in the council.

 

He said AMAC should also generate consumer complaints from the various wards as it concerned electricity, banking and telecommunication to enable CPC resolve the complaints.

 

He said: “Local Government Councils as the third tier of government closer to the grassroots should hold E-Consumer Protection Forum for their citizens as a strategy to encourage their participation in digital business.

 

“This will enlighten them on their rights and prevent exploitation and conflict between the citizens and service providers.

 

“The National Assembly should review the cyber crime and security law 2015, CPC Act 1992, the proposed Critical Infrastructure Bill, Electronic Transaction Protection Bill and Cyber Security and Information Protection Bill.

 

“They should also review the National internal Security Bill 2009, Electronic Commerce (provision of Legal Recognition) Bill, 2008, Electronic fraud (prohibition) Bill 2008 to incorporate e-consumer protection component.

 

“The Federal Government on its part should set up E-Consumers Regulatory Policy Enlightenment Committee to monitor regulatory Agencies in power, banking and telecommunication sectors.

 

“This is to ensure that they comply with consumer enlightenment and regulatory policy enforcement, so that sanctions shall be meted out to those who connive with service providers to short change Nigerian consumers.’’

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E-Business

CSEAN Asks Buhari to Assent Electronic Transaction Bill

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Cyber Security Expert Association of Nigeria (CSEAN) has called on President, Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Electronic Transaction bill, which has been passed by the Senate in May last year.

 

The cyber security advocacy group, said that assenting to the bill becomes very crucial at the moment, when cyber criminals are becoming very daring, innovative and are seen destroying economies with just a click of the mouse.

 

The Electronic Transaction Bill is a bill that provides for the validity of contracts expressed in electronic forms, matters relating to evidence, security of online transactions, electronic signatures, disclosure of information, protection of personal data, and protecting the rights of consumers.

 

Mr. Remi Afon, president of CSEAN, explained that the bill, which has been sitting on the President’s desk for some time now, will protect Nigerians in their financial transactions when finally signed into law.

 

Apart from protecting the majority of Nigerians in their financial dealings, the bill will also protect the banks and their infrastructure, as they can leverage it to prosecute cases and make claims. He said the time has come when the government would show great seriousness in ensuring that Nigerians are protected in their financial transactions

 

He said: “As an advocacy group, we are calling on the President to assent to the Electronic Transaction Bill, as it will provide a legal and regulatory framework for conducting transactions using electronic or related media, and for the protection of the rights of consumers including the facilitation of electronic commerce in Nigeria.”

 

Wondering why a bill that seeks to protect the citizens against criminals is delayed, Afon argued that Nigeria is so lackadaisical when it comes to the issues of cyber security.

 

He added that Nigerians always wait for an incident to happen before they can take action.

 

“The government really needs to hold the bull by the horn. Everybody, including the banks is feeling the impact of cybercrime, but the government has not really taken steps to secure the country’s cyber space,” he said

 

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MainOne, Orange Deal Targets Cable Extension into Francophone West Africa

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MainOne partnership with French Telecoms company, Orange will see the French telecoms giant co-invest in two new cable landing stations in Dakar, Senegal and Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire while the broadband infrastructure provider will provide additional capacity via its 7000km cable system from Europe to Africa with landing stations in Nigeria, Ghana and Portugal, reinforcing the position of both companies in the African telecommunications ecosystem.

Thanks to this new cable connection, several countries in West Africa will benefit from better connectivity, lower prices and access to new services.

Orange will benefit from multiple Terabits per second of additional bandwidth for the development of fixed and mobile data in Africa to meet the increasing demands for Internet access via 3G and 4G network.

More specifically, this cable extension is an opportunity to improve connectivity and offer a broader range of services for both Orange Côte d’Ivoire & Senegal’s Sonatel.

In addition, neighboring countries of Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania will benefit from enhanced capacity.

For MainOne, the partnership underscores the company’s vision for a better connected region, its Chief Executive Officer, Funke Opeke says “MainOne continues to lead the digital transformation of our sub-region by investing in affordable connectivity to drive economic development.

“Our objective is to bridge the digital divide between and within West Africa and the rest of the world.

“We are committed to deepening broadband penetration across West Africa and believe our investments in technologically advanced subsea infrastructure will continue to liberalize the international bandwidth market, further support Orange and other wholesale customers, and ultimately result in improved digital services in the region”.

Speaking on the strategic deal, Chief Executive Officer of Orange Middle East and Africa, Alioune Ndiaye says “The development of new digital services in Africa has fostered huge social and economic developments over the past few years.

As barriers to access continue to fall with improved networks and more affordable equipment, Orange, as part of its multi – service strategy, is seeking to position itself as an important partner in the continent’s digital transformation through this new partnership, Orange is set to secure and improve direct access to high – speed broadband services in two of its most important countries, Senegal and the Côte d’Ivoire.”

The MainOne Submarine Cable System links West Africa with Europe, bringing ultra-fast broadband in the region. It runs from Seixal in Portugal through Accra in Ghana to Lagos in Nigeria, with capacity to land branches in Morocco, Canary Islands, Senegal, and Cote D’Ivoire. The cable system, which now has an upgradable capacity of over 10 TBPS, first went live in July 2010, becoming the first private subsea cable to bring open-access, broadband capacity to West Africa.

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FG Barks as Illegal Lottery Operators Pocket N1 Trillion

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The federal government has started moves aimed at putting an end to the activities of illegal lottery operators, which leave losses amounting to more than one trillion Naira annually.

 

To this end, the federal government through the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) is to police unauthorized online games.

 

National Lottery Regulatory Commission is also considering on one hand to enlist the help of the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) to monitor the payment settlement services to unauthorized lottery operations; and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on another to ban illegal lottery and gambling activities on GSM networks.

 

It will be recalled that Mr Bello Maigari, acting executive secretary, National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF) has last week raised alarm over the activities of illegal lottery operators.

 

Maigari, said that there were many lottery operators in the country without licence, adding that this has resulted to leakages in terms of what they were supposed to remit to the trust fund.

Bello Maigari, secretary, National Lottery Trust Fund

“Nigerian government is losing more than one trillion Naira every year because of illegal operators. There are a lot of illegal operators in the industry and these are part of the reasons why there are leakages.

 

“Some are conducting this business without being regulated and there are chances that such proceeds will be channelled towards crime, fraud, and of course, money laundering.

 

“We also have so many operators that are not performing for reasons best known to them; they have decided not to be moribund.

 

“And we learnt that some of them lease such licences to third parties to operate and through that there is huge leakage and government is losing revenue, particularly in the last 10 years,’’ he said.

 

Maigari stated that NLTF was collaborating with the NLRC to develop a strong and robust enforcement strategy to curb leakages and enhance remittances.

 

He added that the strategy would be an automated form of collecting proceeds from operators.

 

He explained that the national lottery Act 2005 stated that lottery operators were required to pay NLTF 20 per cent of their proceeds in the first five years of their operation.

 

“The national lottery Act 2005 section 24, sub section 3 requires an operator to pay to the trust fund at the end of every lottery a percentage of 20 per cent for the first five years of operation.

 

“Then subsequently 25 per cent, then after 10 years 27.5 per cent, this is the way it is structured.

 

“We are to use these proceeds to promote good causes for Nigerians in health, sports, water and sanitation and other social services that will impact the social well being of Nigerians.

 

“But our only challenge is that funds are not coming in as expected,’’ he said.

 

 

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