From Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
Given the role played by civil society organisations in making government more accountable to the people, Director-General of the Consumer Protection Council [CPC], Babatunde Irukera, has said that no modern government can flourish in this era without civil society input.
Irukera said, ‘’For credible, transparent and honest leadership to thrive in any nation, civil societies must be engaged positively by government because an engagement with the civil society is an engagement with the entire society, and this is my priority’’.
The CPC Director-General made the disclosure yesterday in his address to a one day roundtable forum organised by the commission for Non-Governmental Organizations [NGOs], Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Abuja.
The roundtable forum has as its theme, ‘’Increasing Consumer Awareness Through Effective Participation of Non-Governmental Organisations’’.
The DG said that the person who fears the media but abandons the civil society groups will also find himself to be unsafe, stressing that for someone in government, civil societies are more creative and hence they are key in the protection of consumers and the people.
He noted that the new management of the commission has embarked in sanitising and scrutinising all CSOs and NGOs that registered with the commission in view of deli sting quacks among them to pave way for a better working relationship that would bring succour to millions of Nigerian consumers that have suffered poor quality services for long.
‘’Our process henceforth will be made more intense but transparent. Only those qualified and properly screened will get our registration certifications because we want to continue to work and partner with you as to liberate our consumers from high level impunity. I will also get to our donors to get you on board. We need the industry more in consumer protection. We will no longer compromise customer subsidy. CPC will now become a secondary level dispute resolution avenue. We must take joint responsibility in educating the consumers be it in the power sector, manufacturing and in construction industries,” he said.
.On the new innovations brought to the commission since he assumed office, the DG said, ‘’I inherited a broken council. People were not motivated. There was extreme poor resources, both human and material. Physical infrastructure were also poor and engagement with CSOs was randomly not structured but I think all those are over’’.
In a goodwill message to the forum, a representative of the United Nations International Development Organisation [UNIDO] Prof. Abimbola Uzoma said that to be able to reach the grassroots with their message, CPC must work and collaborate with the CSOs.