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In Nigeria, the consumer protection Act is designed to protect Nigerian Consumers from eating or consuming poisonous substances, it also provides a legal means of seeking a redress when such laws are violated. The Consumer Protection Council Act is provided for under Chapter C25, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. It is an act to provide for the establishment of the consumer protection council and for matters connected therewith. The Council is made up of a chairman, a representative of each state in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and persons representing the ministries of Health, Commerce, Industry, Science and technology and Petroleum resources.
Functions of the Council
- Provide speedy redress to consumers’ complaints through negotiation, mediation and conciliation;
- Seek ways and means of eliminating from the market hazardous products and causing offenders to replace such products with more appropriate alternatives;
- Publish, from time to time, the list of products the consumption and sale of which have been banned, withdrawn, severally restricted or not approved by the Federal Government;
- Cause an offending company or individual to protect, compensate, and provide relief and safeguards to injured consumers or communities from adverse effects of technologies that are inherently harmful;
- Organize and undertake campaigns and other forms of activities as will lead to increased public consumer awareness;
- Encourage trade, industry and professional associations to develop and enforce in their various fields quality standards designed to safeguard the interest of consumers;
- Issue guidelines to manufacturers, importers, dealers and wholesalers in relation to their obligation under the act;
- Encourage the formation of voluntary consumer groups or associations for consumers, well-being;
- Ensure consumer interests receive due consideration at appropriate forums and provide redress for the exploitation of consumers;
- Encourage the adoption of appropriate measures to ensure that products are safe for either intended or normally safe use; and
- Perform such other functions as may be imposed on the council.
Rights Of Consumers
- The Consumer Protection Council Website lists some rights which consumers are entitled to and must insist on as follows:
- The Right to Satisfaction of Basic Needs Access to basic goods and services necessary for survival, such as food, water, energy, clothing, shelter, health-care, education and sanitation. Goods and services must meet the standard of quality promised such that there is value for money in the purchase.
- The Right to Safety Protection from hazardous products, production processes and services.
- The Right to Information Provision of information enabling informed consumer choice as well as protection from misleading or inaccurate advertising and labeling.
- The Right to Choose Access to variety of quality products and services at competitive prices.
- The Right to Redress Compensation for misrepresentation, shoddy goods and unsatisfactory public and private services, including the right to adequate legal representation
- The Right to Consumer Education Acquisition of the skills required to be an informed consumer throughout life
- The Right to Consumer Representation Advocacy of consumers’ interest and the ability to take part in the formulation of economic and other policies affecting consumers i.e. the right to be heard
- The Right to a Healthy Environment Habitation is a place that is safe for present and future generations and which will enhance the quality of their lives.
Complaint and Redress
Consumers or communities who have suffered loss, injury or damage as a result of the use of a product or service may make a complaint in writing to seek redress through a state committee. Whereupon an investigation, it is discovered that a consumer’s rights has been violated and such consumer has incurred injury or damages, the consumer in addition to redress by the council can seek restitution or compensation in any competent court of law. Such courts may thus make an order for compensation to the injured party.