As the world celebrates World Consumer Day every 15th March, Nigerians are not left out as consumers recount their experiences in different ways after purchasing a product or service, Hon. Obinna Chidoka who represents the people of Idemili North/South, Anambra state claimed that Nigerian consumers are the list protected in the world.
He made this statement after appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions Chaired by Hon. Nkem Abonta. During the hearing he accused the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) of conniving with the management of Air Peace to illegally detain him under the pretense of purchasing a ‘fake’ air ticket which was sold to him.
This incident certainly attracted a lot of attention at the the airport because the legislator in question is the younger brother to the former Hon. Minister of Aviation Mr. Osita Chidoka as he was labelled a fraud by the Captain of that particular flight he was to board. This coincidence certainly worried the members of the committee as they requested the presence of the Managing Director of FAAN in the next hearing so as to clarify reasons behind such embarrassment.
According to the Committee Chairman why this issue is of keen interest to the legislature is not just because a serving member of the House of Reps was illegally detained for nearly 2hours against his will but that it shows that Nigerian consumers appear to be the most vulnerable in the world.
“How can a Nigerian buy an air ticket with his money and you FAAN in collusion with Air Peace and their pilot go ahead to detain him after being branded as a fraud shows that no Nigerian consumer is actually protected.”
Hon. Obinna Chidoka speaking exclusively to Uchechukwu Ugboaja said that, “every consumer, every Nigerian should be protected no matter what circumstance. If you are using any facility whether private or government you should be assured of your rights so for FAAN and Air Peace to detain me for nearly two hours without doing their due diligence is condemnable.”
He further stated that their action totally questions his integrity and character that the ticket he used in flying was fake and at the end of the day all their accusations were false. He claimed that his bringing them before the House Committee on Public Petitions was to strengthen each department of government responsible for protecting the rights of consumers to become more diligent in their duties as anyone who is found culpable in infringing on the rights of a consumer should expect the provisions of the law to be applied effectively, he said.
Meanwhile the representatives of the MD of FAAN who where asked to give account of the issue and their role as the supervisors and managers of all airports in Nigeria gave conflicting reports which made the Chairman call for the presence of their CEO to give proper clarification.
As at the time of filing this report our correspondent was yet to confirm if the Director General of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) had been informed of this development being the principal agency of government responsible for the protection of consumer rights in Nigeria.
By, Uchechukwu Ugboaja – Abuja