Consumer rights groups seek NGN1.5tn compensation from GSM operators

24 Apr 2013

Consumer rights groups in Nigeria are demanding NGN1.5 trillion (USD9.4 billion) in compensation from the country’s four GSM network operators MTN, Globacom, Etisalat and Airtel. The Consumers Empowerment Organisation of Nigeria (CEON) and the United Consumers Association of Nigeria (UCAN) are jointly demanding the sum (equivalent to NGN10,000 per subscriber) from the quartet to compensate for poor service quality experienced by Nigeria’s mobile voice and data subscribers in 2012, a press release from CEON writes. The consumer rights groups also criticise the National Communications Commission (NCC), which last year fined the four GSM firms a total of NGN1.17 billion for sub-standard service quality, but failed to compensate end-users. CEON and UCAN noted that ‘conventionally, the administrative fine imposed by the NCC is a standalone conclusive administrative proceeding from which any follow-on or subsequent proceedings in a court of law – by way of private enforcement – necessarily attaches, and that the aforementioned standalone proceeding of the NCC against the four GSM telecom operators clearly established the basis for the operators’ liability to consumers for compensation as contemplated in Section 104 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 and Regulation 8(1) & (2) of the Quality of Service Regulations 2012.’ As such, CEON and UCAN have jointly commenced the process of right of civil action for compensation or restitution against MTN, Globacom, Etisalat and Airtel for service poor quality rendered to Nigeria’s GSM subscribers in 2012.