As part of efforts to mitigate the effects of cybercrime on telecom consumers, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Thursday took its enlightenment campaign to Ibadan.

The campaign held under the auspices of the 102nd edition of the commission’s Consumer Outreach Programme held at the ancient Mapo Hall in Ibadan.

The event with the theme, “ Mitigating Effects of Cybercrimes: The Roles of Telecom Consumers,’’ was attended by representatives of telecoms service providers, traditional rulers, security agencies as well as telecoms consumers.

Alhaji Ismail Adedigba, NCC Deputy Director of Consumer Affairs Bureau, said the commission had put together the programme having considered telecom consumers as important stakeholders in the industry.

“In line with our mandate to continuously educate and enlighten the consumers on industry issues, the theme of this programme was carefully chosen in order to sensitise telecom consumers.

“It is also to educate consumers on the rising wave of cybercrime, the dangers it poses and the role which telecom consumers are expected to play in reducing the impact of cybercrime on them,” he said.

Mrs Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, NCC’s Director of Consumer Affairs Bureau, said the commission was committed to using its various outreach programmes to educate consumers on the risks associated with being online.

Onwuegbuchulam, who was represented by Alhaji Bashir Idris, NCC Head of Legal Services, said the programme would also enlighten consumers on safety measures to take when connected to internet-enabled devices.

“It is our belief at NCC that one of the most effective ways to protect telecom consumers from effects of cyber crimes is through continuous education and awareness,” she said.

Mr Banji Ojo, NCC Deputy Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau (Protection Advocacy), said the commission had evolved several initiatives aimed at enlightening consumers and protecting their rights.

He listed some of the programmes as COP, Consumer Town Hall Meeting and Consumer Complaints Management, urging consumers to make good use of them.

Ojo also said that the NCC had between January 2017 and December 2018 successfully resolved 92,757 complaints (78%) out of the 118,784 received while more than 12 million consumers had activated the DND code.

He urged consumers not to buy pre-registered SIM cards and to report all cases of cybercrime to NCC.

Mr Jide Abdul-Azeez, the lead presenter at the event, said access to telecommunications had helped consumers to constantly keep in touch with their families and relations.

He listed types of cybercrime to include phishing scams, identity theft, child soliciting and abuse, online scams, malware, software piracy and hacking.

Abdul-Azeez identified the effects of cybercrime to include loss of money, emotional trauma, loss of identity and personal details and damage to devices’ internal operation.

He called on consumers to always ignore phishing scams, use trusted anti-viruses, use strong passwords, keep their software updated and manage their social media settings.

AbdulAzeez also urged NCC to ensure constant consumer education and awareness, while service providers needed to alert consumers of palpable internet threats or crime.

Mr Toye Arulogun, Oyo State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, commended NCC for organising the programme, saying it had enlightened the people.

“Cybercrime is a national disgrace, local calamity and triggers individual trauma. I commend NCC for enlightening consumers on the dangers inherent in cybercrime,” he said.

Oba Lekan Balogun, the Otun-Olubadan of Ibadan, also commended NCC, noting that he had learnt a lot from the consumer outreach programme.

“I have been a victim of masking or refilling. I did not know that I am a victim until today. Since, I know now, I will always report such number to NCC,” he said.