As a positive response to long time yearnings of several consumers in Lagos, the governor of the state, Akinwunmi Ambode recently inaugurated the state consumer protection agency board members with a pledge to protect the rights of consumers in the state. The board charged with concerted efforts to end the daily reported cases of violation of consumers’ rights in the State especially considering the vantage position of Lagos as the largest commercial market in Sub-Sahara Africa.
Due to the choice of personalities that were appointed on the board of the agency, many stakeholders have concluded that it has begun business on a good footing. Chaired by a Lagos lawyer, Mrs. Funmi Falana, it parades 11 other experts, drawn from the public and private sectors. Members include: a top Lagos state civil servant and General Manager designate of the agency, Mrs. Olugbode Ajoke; Mr. Oduyebo Jacobs, who is to serve as Secretary and the President of the Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria (CAFON), Mrs. Sola Salako-Ajulo.
The Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria BJAN, the body that joins other stakeholders to celebrate World Consumers Day on every 15th of March, through its president, Mr. Goddie Ofose commended the governor for inaugurating the body and the choice of personalities that formed the board especially the secretary of the board, Mrs Sola Salako-Ajulo who has been championing the cause and advocating for the consumers in Nigeria. He however solicited for the independence of the body, “for the agency to be vibrant and effective, interference should be resisted and the body should be fully independent in their modus operandi,” Mr. Ofose advised.
At the inauguration of the board, the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, pledged that the new agency would protect the rights of consumers in the state and ensure they get value for money spent on goods and services. He also stated that concerted efforts would be made to end the daily reported cases of violation of consumers’ rights in the State especially considering the vantage position of Lagos as the largest commercial market in sub-Sahara Africa.
“The establishment of the consumer protection agency is a strong demonstration of our commitment to the protection of the rights of consumers, the promotion of consumer satisfaction in the State and our resolve to ensure that they get value for money spent on goods and services, the need for the agency has become more imperative in view of the fact that Lagos State, with its huge population, provides the largest commercial market in sub-Sahara Africa, with the highest reported cases of daily infractions on the consumer rights.” “The Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency is therefore meant to complement our reforms on the ease of doing business in the State especially as it affects the development of the Industrial, Commercial and Consumer satisfaction value chain,” Governor Ambode said.
While reeling out the terms of reference of the board, Gov. Ambode noted that the agency had been designed to be an effective service centre for the protection of the interests of Consumers, settlement of Consumer disputes and for other connected purposes as enshrined in the Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency Law, Cap.C13, Laws of Lagos State, 2014.
He said owing to the responsibilities of the agency, members of the board were carefully selected both from private and public sectors based on their impeccable character, remarkable track records, experience on the subject matter and passion for the job. The governor, who urged members of the board to hit the ground running, also tasked them to be dutiful and nurture the new agency to become an institution that will guarantee timely delivery of effective services to aggrieved consumers.
Responding on behalf of the appointees, Falana thanked Governor Ambode for the opportunity given them to serve the people, assuring that they would work in the best interest of consumers and leave very good footprints on the sand of time. “We will take the bull by the horn and ensure that we do not only impress the governor, but the teeming consumers in the state,” Falana said.