29 J.L. Pol'y & Globalization 1 (2014)

handle is hein.journals/jawpglob29 and id is 1 raw text is: 


Journal of Law, Policy and Globalization                                                    wwwiisteorg
ISSN 2224-3240 (Paper) ISSN 2224-3259 (Online)
Vol.29, 2014                                                                                      IISTE


  An Appraisal of the Legal Regime Available for the Protection of

                   Consumers of Telecom Services in Nigeria


                                   Amanim Iwok      Bassey Kooffreh*
        LL.B, B.L, LLM Research Candidate Faculty of Law University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria.
                           * E-mail of the corresponding author: kooffrehjnr@gmail.com
Abstract
Throughout the history of the human race, man's ability to engage in complex and intelligent communication
with his fellowmen has remained a key distinguishing factor between man and other animals. Thus, the role that
communication plays in human societies cannot be overemphasized. Consequently, from the most primitive to
the most advanced, every human society has had to rely on some system of communication including distant
communication (telecommunications). Perhaps, this is why it has been said that communication networks make
society a reality.'
The Nigerian telecommunications sector, has witnessed revolutionary growth in the last decade. This revolution
has presented some challenges and opportunities to both the regulator and players in the sector. This research
paper aims to critically examine the regulatory framework in the Nigerian telecoms sector, and the level of
protection it gives consumers of telecom services. In the course of this paper, criticisms and commendations
would be made where necessary, and suggestions will be proffered to help maintain or improve on the quality of
services in the sector, in the overall best interest of the consumer.
Keywords: Telecommunications, Consumer, Protection, Service Providers

    1. Introduction
Understanding the concept of who a consumer is; usually is a convenient starting point in a paper of this nature.
This is important because the consumer is at the centre of this research paper and the relevance of the findings
made in this paper would be lost unless it is applied to the benefit of the consumer.
President John F. Kennedy in his famous statement to the American Congress asserted that: Consumers, by
definition, include us all. They are the largest economic group, affecting and affected by almost every public and
private economic decision. Yet they are the only important group... whose views are often not heard.2
The Consumer Protection Act,3 which is the foremost Nigerian legislation on Consumer Protection, defines the
term consumer, as an individual, who purchases, uses, maintains or disposes of products or services. The
above definition obviously embraces the two schools of thought, on this subject matter. This is because the
definition goes beyond the restrictive meaning of a consumer based on contract, and extends to include non-
contractual persons (end-users). Monye,4 agreed with the above position when she asserted that: In general, in
product liability cases, the term consumer extends to contractual consumers; ultimate users as well as any person
who is adversely affected by a product or service.
While several other definitions of the term consumer abound, the above-cited definitions represents the sense in
which the term is used in this paper.

    2. What is the Basis or Aim of Consumer Protection?
The consumer because of his purchasing power is supposedly the king of the market place. However, the reality
today is that the consumer has become the victim of many unfair and unethical tactics adopted in the market
place, by the producers of goods and services. This is what consumer protection seeks to correct.
Thus, the central theme of consumer protection is the adjustment of the relationship in terms of power between
the consumers and producers of goods and services. This presupposes a re-conceptualization of the legal rights
and obligations of the parties given the gross power disparity between the individual consumer and the
institutional producer. The other concern of Consumer Protection is the mechanisms of enforcing the legal rights


1 G. A. Alabi, Telecommunications in Nigeria. University of Pennsylvania - African Studies Center,
    2012.
2 John F Kennedy: Special Message to the Congress on Protecting the Consumer's Interest.
     Presidency.ucs.edu. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
3 Section 32, Consumer Protection Act, Cap C25 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004

4 Felicia N. Monye, The Consumer and Consumer Protection in Nigeria: Struggles, Burdens and Hopes.
     An inaugural lecture delivered at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. P.6

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