A consumer is anyone who buys or uses any product or service. Since there is none that does not buy or use products and services, we all are consumers. It is the consumers’ rights to buy and use healthy foods that we intend to focus on this
The tradition of setting aside March 15 every year to celebrate the consumer can be traced to that date in 1962 when John F. Kennedy, then President of America, addressed the Parliament on the Consumer Bill of Rights.
“If a consumer is offered inferior products, if prices are exorbitant, if drugs are unsafe or worthless, if the consumer is unable to choose on an informed basis, then his dollar is wasted, his health and safety may be threatened, and national interest suffers”. He said.
By that Speech, the president identified four consumer rights including safety, choice, information and basic needs.
The United Nations adopted these rights, added four others and issued a guideline on the eight consumer rights. These eight rights are (1) The Right to Satisfaction of Basic needs (2) The Right to Safety (3) The Right to Choice (4) The Right to Information (5) The Right to Consumer Education (6) The Right to Representation (7) The Right to Redress and (8) The Right to Healthy Environment.
The United Nations’ guidelines were further adopted by Nigeria, which led to the enactment of the CPC Act, No. 66 of 1992. That law established the CPC with the mandate to among other things, seek speedy redress for consumers’ complaints, remove from the market substandard products, and undertake sensitization campaigns and consumer education and more.
The umbrella body of Consumer Federations and Organizations, Consumer International has now adopted 15th March every year as the World Consumer Rights Day. The idea is to promote the eight consumer rights, protest market abuses and social injustice meted out against the consumer, and placing a demand on business operators that consumer rights should be respected.
This year, as we concentrate on Consumer Rights to Healthy Foods, we intend to draw the attention of consumers to the health risks involved in consuming unhealthy foods which are low in fiber, vitamins, high on fats, salt, sugar and tropical oils and are generally of little or no nutritional value. In most cases, they lack the necessary vitamins obtainable from fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, these junks or unhealthy foods when taken regularly cause diet related diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, all leading to
The Consumer Protection Council has, therefore, chosen to sensitize consumers on consumption of healthy foods in schools, churches, mosques and other public places with a view to educating Nigerians on their salt and sugar intake. We intend to enlighten Nigerians on the dangers of consuming unhealthy foods.
The Lagos office of the CPC was at two churches, St. Leo’s Catholic Church, Ikeja, and the Foursquare Gospel Church, OPIC Estate, Lagos, to sensitize the members on Sunday 15th March, 2015. Members of both churches were astonished at the eye opening revelations by the council. This is expected to continue throughout the year.
As a follow-up to the “Walk for Health” already undertaken by the
council in Abuja, the Lagos office participated in the “Walk for Health”
programme from Ilupeju to Oshodi to Ikeja through Maryland, Ikorodu and back to the council’s office at18 Ilupeju Bye-Pass. Other zonal offices had similar programmes.
Sensitization talks were carried out at the Lagos Progressive Senior and Junior Secondary Schools, Surulere, while more schools such as Community Senior and Junior High Schools, Surulere, Ilupeju Senior Secondary School, Oshodi, Ilupeju Junior Secondary School, Oshodi, Sunnyside Schools, Ilupeju, Penman College, Ilupeju and a few others are scheduled to be visited shortly. In addition,
interviews and spotlight programmes are expected to run on radio, television and in national newspapers. It is expected that the tempo will be sustained and extended to eateries, supermarkets, restaurants and market places throughout the year.
The council would like to use this opportunity to call on the media to join hands with CPC to spread this message through their various platforms, electronic and print, as a means of further propagating consumer education.