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FG Moves To Enhance Protection Of Telecom Consumers

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The Federal Government has in Abuja taken further steps to enhance protection of telecommunication consumers against unwholesome practices of telecommunication providers in the country.
The Tide reports that a nine man Joint Investigative Committee (JIC) was inaugurated by the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr Sunday Dare, to investigate consumer complaints.
Our source also reports that the committee was formed to also respond to a resolution by the National Assembly (NASS) requiring investigation and remedial measures on grievances by consumers.
According to Dare, a letter is received from the NASS on the increasing rate of dropped calls and other unwholesome practices by telecommunications operators robbing Nigerians of their money.
He said the committee, which comprised members of the NCC and Consumer Protection Council (CPC), would outline existing laws aimed at protecting consumers and how the laws were enforced.
He said it would review the various initiatives targeted at protecting consumers and the various resolutions jointly taken by NCC and telecom service providers to ensure improvement in telecom consumer experience.
“The committee will collate information from the industry working group on quality of service and the task force on call masking.
“It will also prepare reports on its findings which will be forwarded to the NASS and Secretary to the Government of the Federation in response to the letters received by them.
“ The committee, upon inauguration, has duration of one month to complete the assignment,’’ he said.
According to Dare, a consumer satisfaction survey will be carried out by the committee every two years on consumers to rate the performance of the various network providers in the country.
Dare expressed optimism that given the calibre of members that constituted the committee, it would complete the task in good time and provide acceptable responses to the issues.
CPC’s Director-General, Mr Babatunde Irukera, expressed optimism that the collaboration between NCC and CPC would ensure telecommunication consumers got the best value for their money.
“We recognise that the best approach to effective regulation is collaboration and this collaboration captures what is best for the industry.
“The technical knowledge and the skills of the CPC and NCC have the perfect combination of ensuring consumers get value for their money.
“We are very excited and I think this collaboration sends message to the industry that there is alignment by the regulators about what is important, which is the consumers.
“It also tells investors that there is clarity; they will see the country as a destination for investment and it helps consumers know they are the priority.
“I expect the outcome will improve consumer experience. We will bring everything in the CPC to support that process to the end and consumers will be the better for it.

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Stakeholders Meet To Assess Nigeria’s Preparedness For AFCFTA

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Stakeholders are expected to converge in Lagos today to take a look at the Nigeria’s preparedness to maximize the gains of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 
The Tide learnt that stakeholders will be converging at the instance of a popular online newspaper, Primetime Reporters, to assess the progress made so far by the Federal Government through the National Action Committee on AfCFTA agreement.
The event which is the Third Annual Lecture and Awards of the online medium has as its theme: “Assessing Nigeria’s Preparedness to Maximize the Gains of AfCFTA.” 
The event will also witness conferment of awards on eight eminent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various fields of human endeavours.
The Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of Primetime Reporters, Mr. Saint Augustine Nwadinamuo, made this known in a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Monday.
According to him, the event will hold at the National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos beginning from 10.00am.
Nwadinamuo said that the event would be chaired by a renowned legal practitioner, Barr. Osuala Emmanuel Nwagbara of the Maritime and Commercial Law Partners, Lagos, while the Director General, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf, would be the lead paper presenter.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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EFCC Nabs 419 Kingpin Over N250m Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested a leader of a deadly 419 syndicate, Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka (a.k.a Awise) over an alleged attempt to swindle an innocent Nigerian of N250 million. 
The Tide learnt that the syndicate operates from a shrine at Ashipa Town, near Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Sunday, by the EFCC, Awise’s arrest followed a petition by his victim, Juliet Bright who lost N250m to the fraudster after she was tricked to provide money for sacrifices and invocations to heal her of an ailment.
The statement said Bright was introduced to Alaka by one Akinola Bukola Augustina (a.ka. Iya Osun) whom she met on Facebook in the course of her search for solutions to her health challenge. 
What drew her to Augustina was the latter’s post under the name, Osunbukola Olamitutu Spriritual Healing Centre.
 Once Bright contacted Augustina, the latter promised to heal her if she could pay N16 million. 
The victim paid the money through an Access Bank account belonging to one Mohammed Sani, who later turned out to be a Bureau De Change Operator.
After paying the money without receiving healing, Augustina transferred the victim to other members of the syndicate, notably Awise. 
Bright revealed that she met Awise at his shrine in Ashipa Town and was hypnotized and subsequently transferred various sum through bank accounts and in cash to the suspect and his syndicate members, until she lost N250 million to them.
Despite all the monies collected from her, her health conditions has never improved.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Expert Wants Farmers To Grow Plant Produce For Export

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An expert in Quarantine Agriculture, Dr Vincent Ozuru, has advised Nigerian farmers to give more attention to growing plants produce that could be exported.
He said that plant like the hibiscus, popularly known as Zobo is on high demand in some countries around the world, today.
Ozuru who gave the advice while speaking to aviation correspondents at Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, noted that some plants produce, particularly hibiscus, had yielded huge revenue to the Federal Government through export.
According to him, Nigeria exported about 1,983 containers of hibiscus to Mexico alone in 2017 and earned $35 million within nine months of that year.
The agricultural quarantine expert explained that the export of the plant had a setback as a result of storage pest discovered by the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service in some consignments.
“The issue has now been taken care of and the export is resuming again, and all matters have been resolved with the stakeholders across the value chain.
“Mexico is the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus, and our farmers should brace up to the challenge.
“The good news is that Nigeria has a vast growing belt in hibiscus, and the harvest is available all year round.
“We need to take advantage of this opportunity to earn foreign exchange for ourselves and for the country at large, even with the commitment of the present administration to diversify the economy”, he said.
Ozuru called on Nigerian farmers to show more commitment to the growing of export produce and also endeavor to get ready information on it in order to increase their income.

By: Corlins Walter

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