Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola Monday signed into law the Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency Bill aimed at ensuring the protection of consumers against unscrupulous manufacturers and service providers.
While signing the bill at the Conference Room, Lagos House, Ikeja Fashola said the State Government is aware that in advance economy around the world, the consumers are well protected to ensure that they get value for their money as they are deemed to be kings.
According to him, “This is a very simple legislative intervention. Many at times when we were growing up, we heard stories of people buying household equipment, cloths, shoes and after using them, they can take them back to the store for replacement.
“The rationale was that in all those economy, there is appreciation of value for money. The customers are recognized as king and Lagos being Africa’s mega and model city, we cannot be different. One of the selling points of this state internationally is its large population and the consumption power that comes with it.
“No government that is alive to its responsibility will not seek to protect its citizens to ensure that they get value for their money. What the law will do for us is to tell the consumers that they are not helpless. In the end, everybody benefits, it will raise the service level, improve the quality and standards of good that are pushed into the market,” the Governor said.
Presenting the bill for the governor’s assent, State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye said the law provides for the protection of consumer’s interests, settlements of consumer disputes and other connected purposes.
Ipaye explained, “The bill proposes to repeal what we currently have, that is, the Consumer Protection Committee Law but it complements other statutory commission. It will not affect rights that are already established under other laws.
“Its main objective is to promote and protect the rights of consumers; in particular, the rights to be protected against the marketing of goods and services that are hazardous to life. The right to be informed about the quantity, the quality, standard and price of goods and services as the case may be so as to protect consumers against unfair trade practices.
“The rights to seek redress against unfair trade practices, the rights to be heard and assured that consumers will receive due consideration in Lagos State as well as the rights to consumer education.”
Ipaye said complaints can be filed by one or more consumers, adding that a company may be liable as well as its directors after investigations in deserving cases.
The penalty according to the bill depends on whether one is a first time offender, in which case the fine is N500, 000 or three months imprisonment.
Second offender’s fine is N750, 000 or six months imprisonment and in a situation of continuous violation of the provisions of the law, the fine is N20, 000 per day as long as the violation persists. [The Nation]