CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS IN NIGERIA AND ITS IMPLICATIONS ON NIGERIAN CONSUMERS
This research project focused on the consumer protection laws in Nigeria and its implications on Nigerian consumers.
The researchers utilized both secondary primary data sources in order to gain insight on consumer protection laws in Nigeria and its implications.
Questionnaire was carefully designed to obtain relevant information from respondents within the Enugu metropolis.
The questionnaire utilized both alternative choice and multiple choice questions, open ended question wee also used.
The method of data analysis used in this research is tabulation/presentation and working of summary statistics. A convenience sample size of 400 were used in Enugu metropolis.
The study revealed that most of the consumers, are not aware of the existing laws, and some also do not know their rights as a consumer and how to go about fighting for their right.
It also revealed that consumers are not properly informed about the issue on what is contained in the consumer protection laws.
We however, recommend that the regulatory agency(ies) should redesign an enlightenment programme that is going to catch the target audience as well as the general public so as to high light them on what to do when their rights is being also abused.
We also recommend that consumers should stop buying packaged goods without a certificatory number, batch number, company’s name and full address of the company as well as expiry date.
In the case where all these features are not found or is doubting, the consumer should report to the regulatory agencies for actions.
TABLE OF CONTENT
1.1 Background of the study
1.2 Statement of the problem
1.3 Objectives of the Study
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Significance of the study
1.6 Scope and Limitations of the study
Related Literature Review
2.1 Consumer Protection and Consumerism
2.2 The Nigerian Context
2.3 The need for consumer protection in Nigeria
2.4 Abuse of consumer rights in Nigeria
2.5 The establishment of the consumer protection laws
2.6 The major functions of consumer protection laws in Nigeria
2.7 The brief historical development of food and drug regulatory authority in Nigeria.
2.8 The implications of fake and substandard regulated products
3.0 Research Design
3.1 Area of Study
3.2 Population of study
3.3 Sample and sampling technique
3.4 Source of Data
3.5 Method of Data Collection
3.6 Questionnaire design
3.7 Questionnaire administration
4.0 Presentation, Analysis and interpretation of Data
4.1 Interpretation and analysis of consumer questionnaire
4.2 Interpretation and analysis of staff questionnaire
5.0 Summary of Findings, recommendation and
5.1 Summary of Findings
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Most of the consumers in Nigeria are ignorant of the existing laws that protect them more especially the final consumers who are yet to know the existing consumer protection agencies and laws that protect them as well as its implication.
This era of study is of a great interest as a result of the abuse and neglect of consumers in Nigeria and also the continues increase in fake and adulterated goods and services in Nigeria which has put the consumers in a very difficult situation.
However, the complex nature and the disability of the consumers to detect in a physical inspection of a product and the continuous agitation of the consumers on several occasions where they have been deprived of their rights that gave rise to the enactment of laws, rules, regulations and the setting up of regulatory agencies with specialized manpower, and knowledge to protect the consumers eg NAFDAC, SON, NDLEA, etc.
The consumer protection council was established under decree 66 of 1992. It is set up to help in the protection of the consumers in Nigeria and to perform some other function like:-
a. To encourage the adoption of appropriate measures to ensure that products are safe for either intended or normally safe use.
b. To cause an offending company, firm, trade association or individuals to protect, compensate, provide relief and safeguards injured consumers or communities from adverse effects of technologies that are inherently harmful, injurious, violent or highly hazardous.
c. They also perform such other functions as may be imposed on the council pursuant to this Act. etc.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Inspite of all the prevailing consumer protection organisations and laws in Nigeria greater percentage of the consumers are still suffering dissatisfaction.
These are reflected in the incessant exposition by journalist of unethical business practice, business insensitivity to the aspiration of the consumer in one of the Dailys it was reported that a woman bought a packet of Omo detergent and when she got home, she discovered that half of the detergent was sawdust, what a hoax, could this be to the consumers in Nigeria?
Virtually a greater number of most of the sellers and producers in Nigeria whose utmost faith in business is profit maximization at all cost indulge in selling of adulterated or fake and dangerous products and services not minding the effects it has on the part of the consumers.
On the third week of May 2005, Unilver Nigeria Plc was closed down temporarily by National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) because of its product CLOSE UP toothpaste against the reduction in the foaming nature of the product.
NAFDAC, however closed the production site to allow the company correct the observed abnormality in their products.
In Nigeria, a lot of consumers has lost their lives as a result of food poisoning which was either caused by the sellers of the products or the producers.
Among which is the case of INDOMIE INSTANT NOODLES (a product of De United Foods Industries Ltd) in the middle of the year 2004 report had it that a lot of consumers of the product at Lagos area met their untimely death after consuming the product.
It has also been of record that at least forty percent of the patients in the hospital that lather died as a result of fake and adulterated products in the market.
From the above examples of consumer abuses in Nigeria one could easily say that they are the worst abused in Nigeria. This is therefore the focus of the study.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of the study are as follows:-
a. To examine the role of the consumer protection in protecting of consumers rights in Nigeria.
b. To bring out the guidelines for handling product liability.
c. To draw out critically on how the rights of consumers has been abused in Nigeria.
d. To unravel the various laws backing consumers in Nigeria.
e. To make all the necessary recommendation on how to eliminate adulterated products in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
a. What is the role of the consumer protection laws in protecting of the consumers rights in Nigeria?
b. Does the guidelines for handling products liability of any help to the consumers?
c. Has this agency succeeded in drawing out critically the several abuses of consumers in Nigeria?
d. To what extent has the laws backing consumers in Nigeria been unravel to the consumers?
e. Has the consumer protection organisations in Nigeria succeeded in eliminating fake and adulterated products in Nigeria?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study however, is a very important one as it will aid and educate the general publics (consumers) on what they don’t know on the rights of consumers and the consumer protection laws contribution to the protecting of consumer right.
The business operators and consumers, this study is particularly crucial having accepted in principle that corporate profitability is inextricably tied to how well a company pleases and satisfies its consumers.
The study will help the consumers to realize that they have rights which they are suppose to exercise as they consume products and services. The basic laws mapped out for consumers are basically pointed out to boost the consumers ego and to knock off doubts of neglects in the society. This is however, because the business by word of ”CAVEAT EMPTOR” (Latin word) meaning buyers beware is no longer relevant today, hence the consumer protection law should rise up to the challenges of awakening consumers interest.
The result of this study will be manifested not only in the intangible feelings of goodwill but also in repeat sale and brand loyalty which of coursed are the hallmark of a satisfied consumers. We cannot but agree with Willian Kaye (1970) that a dissatisfied consumers undergoes a stinking transformation he becomes anti-customer who is not only satisfied with merely boycotting a brand but will in every way possible try to influence potential customers against it.
Nevertheless, it is hoped that the result of the study will be applied to other part of the country as to how consumers are protected by the consumer protection law.
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