The Director General of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Babatunde Irukera, has canvassed for mutual trust between Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the Council for a healthier relationship in the interest of Nigerian consumers.
Similarly, he lauded the clamour for more partnership between the Council and CSOs, asserting that no government anywhere in the world can single-handedly protect its citizens against exploitation.
Irukera made the assertions while receiving members of the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations on consumer protection, led by Omoluabi Bode Adeyemi, during the group’s courtesy visit to the Council in Abuja.
While acknowledging the positive role of civil societies in the development of the country, he said that for more entrenched progress to be achieved, there must be mutual trust and confidence in the ability of each party in the relationship between government and civil societies.
“It is a very important thing that civil societies recognise that there is a split at a certain point and the fine split is when you are talking of a place like the Consumer Protection Council, and we are holding each other accountable, not based on the adversarial context but more on a partnership level” he said
“it is important because what will happen is that if we do not have mutual trust and confidence on how we do our work, you will succeed to a certain extent and we will succeed to a certain extent too, because there will be people who will say that we have done well and there will be others, who will credit civil societies for being the conscience of the society” he emphasized.
Mr. Irukera noted that there’s nowhere in the world where government is the only one that has ever succeeded in protecting its people and called for more support from the group to ” help government improve in its activities.
He reiterated that the Council would work with organisations and civil societies to increase consumer education with the aim of letting people really know what their rights are and then the harvesting of feedback”.
“Whatever credibility and statutory mandate that the Consumer Protection Council needs to support your organisation, to access the type of support that is required for you to assist us to percolate sensitization and consumer awareness all the way down to the ground, I want to bring that to the table”.
Earlier, the leader of the group, urged the council to step up protection of consumers in the country as one of the major problem with consumers in this country is that of awareness”, stressing that most consumers don’t even know they have rights or even what those rights are.
“Consumers have faced different untold hardship arising from persons who were supposed to rise up and defend their interests and we feel that Nigeria, under a leadership that believes in change, must change from what it used to be, to what it should be … So I want to believe that CPC has an onerous task ahead of it and having a personality like you in the saddle, I believe that there will be a radical change”.
Adeyemi said his coalition has identified that one major problem with consumers in this country is that of awareness, stressing that “they don’t even know they have rights or even what those rights are.”
“So one important area that the Council, particularly under this leadership, will make tremendous achievement, is making Nigerians understand what their rights are. Even if you cannot fight for them, let them know what their rights are, and the kind of Nigerians I know, when they know and understand their rights, they will go all out to fight for these rights. We know that, as a matter of fact, CPC does not have the human resources, in terms of numbers to do this. I doubt if there’s any CPC office in my State or in many other States of the country. We strongly believe that we can collaborate with this organisation in going out to create awareness”, he added.