The Lagos House of Assembly has assured stakeholders that the new Consumer Protection Bill would strengthen the State Consumer Protection Agency on the right of consumers.
The Chairman of House Committee on Commerce, Industry and Cooperative, Mr Adebisi Yusuff, made this known at a day public hearing in Lagos.
The title of the Bill is: ”Law to Establish the Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency, Provide for the Protection of the Interest of Consumers, Settlement of Consumer Disputes and for Connected Purposes.”
Yusuff said the essence of repealing the extant law was to be in conformity with modern realities, adding that the committee would ensure that all the necessary things were done to protect consumers.
The lawmaker, representing Alimosho II, said that the public hearing was to let the stakeholders know that they have the right to complain anytime they bought or consume something that was not right.
According to him, the new Bill recommends that offices of the agency should now be opened in all the local governments and where they cannot handle it they should go to the main agency.
Reacting to the report, a member of Provision Stores Association of Nigeria, Mr Wuraola Abdussalam, urged the lawmakers to visit the markets and see things for themselves.
Abdussalam said that a lot needed to be done toward addressing the rights of consumers.
He displayed some items to back his claim, adding that he had approached LASCOPA over alleged counterfeit products for the past six months
Abdussalam appealed to the state government to assist the association and address its complains.
However, LASCOPA General Manager, Mr Afolabi Solebo, denied Abdussalam’s claim, saying "he is being economical with the truth."
Solebo said this was because the matter Abdussalam mentioned had been on ground for long and the manufacturers were invited and they came.
“Why should he come and tell members of the public that we didn’t handle it well.
“We ensured that the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and marketers make sure that the products coming into the state are verified as suitable for consumption.
“We attended to him as a consumer, I wonder why he is also here today. Under normal circumstances, some of those products are not supposed to be in the market,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, represented by Deputy Speaker, Mr Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, stated that the public hearing was organised to look into the complaints of consumers.
Obasa said: “We are not here so that you can praise us; we are here to look into your complaints. You can make complaint.
“However, should any agency, be it LASCOPA or any other agencies are found wanting because we have the power to sanction anyone of them.”
Also, the Iyaloja-General, Mrs Folasade Tinubu-Ojo, represented by Mrs Abimbola Jinadu, said that Clause 28, which dealt with inspection, should be looked into.
Tinubu-Ojo said that while on inspection, officers should give prior notice to the leadership of the market, especially if it would be an open market. ----NAN