The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has evolved measures aimed at protecting telecoms consumers from cyber criminals in the country.
Mrs Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, Director, NCC Consumer Affairs Bureau, disclosed this at the 53rd Consumer Town Hall meeting of the commission held in Oyo on Thursday.
The theme of the meeting, ‘Mitigating Effects of Cybercrimes: The Role of Telecom Consumers,’ was aimed at informing and educating consumers on the roles required of them in mitigating cybercrime.
Onwuegbuchulam, represented by her deputy, Alhaji Ismail Adedigba, said that NCC evolved the initiative to identify, discuss and jointly proffer effective solutions to different issues affecting telecoms consumers in the country.
“As a tripartite programme, the forum aims to, on a continuous basis, engage telecoms consumers by educating, informing and empowering them with information they need to know and their rights when violated by the service providers.
“Since we started organising this event some years back, we have treated different thematic topics which have produced key resolutions that have been communicated to service providers for implementation.
“Indeed, this has helped to guarantee improved services and value for money spent on telecom services for the consumers.
”Telecom consumers have been the ultimate beneficiaries of the initiatives,” she said.
She said that the theme of the event was aimed at highlighting the threats of cybercrime to users of telecoms services and to sensitise them on the role they need to play against cyber criminals and hackers.
Onwuegbuchulam said that consumers were important stakeholders in the current cyber space, adding that individuals and corporate users of telecom devices often make use of internet in the connected world.
“It is our belief as a commission that without consumers becoming aware of cybercrime trends and making efforts to ensure safe use of connected devices, cyber criminals will continue to make cyberspace unsafe.
“Our belief is that the most effective ways to protect telecom consumers from effects of cybercrime is through continuous consumer education and awareness such as the one we are having here today,” she said.
She said that the commission had embarked on various initiatives to increase access to the internet for Nigerians, noting that it was also conscious of dishonest individuals using the internet for illegal activities.
“The hackers and cyber criminals deploy sophisticated systems to intrude into your connected devices as telecoms consumers to perpetrate their exploitation schemes.
“Cybercrime is on the increase. The commission is committed to using its various outreach programmes to embark on series of awareness campaigns with a view to keeping consumers well informed on the risks associated with being online,” she said.
Adedigba, in his personal address, had earlier said the town hall meetingnwas to bring together telecoms consumers in rural and semi-urban areas.
He said the forum was to bring them together with service providers as well as the regulator for a face-to-face interaction on telecom issues.
“This was organised to sensitise telecoms consumers on the rising wave of cybercrime in its various forms, the dangers it poses and the role, which telecoms consumers are expected to play in reducing the impacts of cybercrimes on them.
“Let me emphasise at this juncture that while the regulatory intervention and other initiatives are ongoing to sanitise our internet space, telecoms consumers must play their part.
“Thus, the need for you all to take this meeting seriously as we educate you on what your roles should be in minimising the effect of cybercrime, ” he said.
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, commended the NCC for educating the people on cybercrime and its dangers.
Adeyemi, represented by Chief Yusuf Ayoola, the Bashorun of Oyo, called on the NCC to make the interface regular so as to reduce cybercrime drastically in the society.
The monarch also warned the youths to shun criminal activities, urging them to embrace honesty, patience and hard work which he said were hallmarks of the Yoruba.
Some of the participants, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria, commended NCC on the sensitisation programme, promising to put into good use all they were taught at the programme.
The event was attended by representatives of service providers who also helped consumers in addressing their various telecoms issues.