Stakeholders in the brands and marketing communications space have charged Nigerian consumers to take advantage of the present digital age.
They said that the growth in the Information Technology (IT) sector has ensured the availability of information on every situation that affects human existence.
The stakeholders said this in a one day symposium, organised by Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria (BJAN), on Wednesday, in Lagos, in line with the World Consumer Rights Day 2017.
They spoke on the theme, ‘Consumer Rights in the Digital Age’.
In his paper presentation, David Okeme, Chief Marketing officer, Systemspecs, owners of Remita and President, Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), said before the advent of Information Technology, wealth was concentrated in the hands of some individuals like; the Rockefellers, Ford in automobile and Unilever in manufacturing, but now digital has created new world of wealth that is driven by positivity, ideology and passion.
“There is new wave of wealth being created in the world today, which is driven by the computer age that we are in. That is why young people in the world all over who take advantage of the present age are richer than some African countries,” Okeme said.
“The good thing about the age we are in is that information spread in fast pace and can be assessed from anywhere in the world. The Thing is that within seconds information can reach the world including the negatives that people would not want exposed.
“At the industry level, we need to take consumer issues serious and see where that takes us. Industries should seek best practise and continue to improve on it,” he added.
On his part, President, Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Kayode Oluwasana, said digital is not advertising but a platform of advertising.
“It is one thing to know you have a right and another to sue when the rights are infringed upon. Consumers must know the power of digital and the platforms to enable his or her voice to be heard, and be informed to ensure consumer rights are protected,” Oluwasana said.
On the other hand, Kayode Olagesin, Chief Executive Officer, Towncriers, said the ‘onus of knowing, lies within the consumers’.
“The internet says, power without control is dangerous, hence, every consumer needs to take responsibilities for their actions,” he said.
Continuing, Olagesin said: “Trust is involved when we make purchases from anywhere in the world via the internet especially from people we have not met before, which in itself comes with some level of risk. So, the onus lies with consumers to know to thread with caution.”
He observed that privacy violation issues lies within the government, noting that consumer protection laws in Nigeria are weak, hence are not preventive.
He however advised consumers to try not to be in a position where their rights are trampled upon, stating that, “For someone to mislead you, it means you yourself is ignorant”.