Issues as BJAN, stakeholders converged for another WCD

Consumer rights advocate and activist, Ms Sola Salako on March 1, 2016, called out bank customers all over the country from the banking halls, as a way of to by the nation’s financial institutions in the past years.

Tagged ‘No Banking Day,’ Ms, Salako, who is also the President and Founder of the consumer advocacy group, the Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria (CAFON), had argued that the Nigerian consumer had long been victims of several abuses and injustices, adding that the time had come to commence a class protesting the gross impunity this category of Nigerian consumers had been subjected action as a way of protesting some of these injustices.

Though a partial success, since some customers still managed to sneak into the banking halls, in defiance of Salako’s call for a boycott, not a few however, believe that the CAFON founder had succinctly made her point by effectively bringing to the fore the plight of the average consumer in this part of the globe.

Little wonder, the consumer rights advocate was full of commendation for the Brand Journalists’ Association of Nigeria (BJAN) for providing the platform for gladiators, in the nation’s integrated marketing communication space to again discuss consumerism at the recently-celebrated World Consumer Day, held on March 15, in Lagos.

The CAFON founder had at the packed-filled hall declared that it is not yet uhuru for consumers in this part of the globe, especially at these digital times, in spite of several efforts by some consumer rights activists and groups, to give consumers a voice.

For instance, one year after Ms. Salako asked the nation’s bank customers to shelve banking for a day as a way of protesting some violations of their rights as consumers, the CAFON founder is emphatic that the level of consumerism in Nigeria still falls below the expected standards.

Ms. Salako had argued that the Nigerian consumer still holds the short end of the stick and would need concerted efforts, such as the platform provided by BJAN, to be able to successfully challenge the violations of his rights.

She, however, expressed her delight that the Nigerian consumers are being gradually listened to, an indication that all hope is not lost as far as consumerism is concerned, in Nigeria.

In his keynote address at the event, the lead speaker, Mr David Okeme, highlighted the power of the consumers in the digital world and how such powers could be compromised by technology.

Okeme, who is also the incumbent President of the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) argued that though the consumers’ lives are getting more enhanced in this present digital world, he, however, believes technology is continually laying them bare before the world, since they no longer enjoy that well-cherished privacy.

“Though the advent of technology can be said to have driven businesses faster, with its attendant benefits for the consumers, but the fact remains that data privacy is fast becoming a thing of the past. For example, where there are no strong laws, such as Nigeria, such private data can be used to destroy us,” he argued.

He argued that while technology had become imperative in  driving today’s businesses and empowering the modern-day consumers, Okeme, however, believes that if not well-managed, technology might turn a nightmare for both businesses and consumers; since everything is being driven by technology.

He, however, stressed the need for consumers to defend themselves by deploying tools within the cyber space to build such wall of defense.

Explaining the rationale behind the lecture, the chairman of BJAN, Mr Goddie Ofose, stated that the association was only providing a platform where consumer issues could again be brought to the front burner.

According to him, while the association would not pretend it had solution to the numerous challenges facing the Nigerian consumers today, it could contribute its own quota to solving such issues by gathering experts that would discuss and proffer solutions to some of those challenges.