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Consumer Protection Council Act

Chapter C25

(Decree No 66 of 1992)

Laws of the Federation of Nigeria

 

 

 

23rd day of November 1992

 

The Federal Military Government hereby decrees as follows:

 

 

Part I

Establishment of Consumer Protection Council etc.

 

1.     (1)           There is hereby established a council to be known as the Consumer Protection Council (in this Decree referred to as "the Council") which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and with power to sue and be sued in its corporate name.

 

(2)           The Council shall consist of-

 

(a)            a Chairman to be appointed by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces on the recommendation of the Minister;

 

(b)           a person to represent each of the States of the Federation on the recommendation of the Governor of each State ; and

 

(c)            four persons to represent the following related Federal Ministries that is-

 

(i)            Commerce and Tourism;

 

(ii)            Industries and Technology;

 

(iii)           Health; and

 

(iv)           Petroleum Resources.

 

(3)           The Chairman and members of the Council other than ex-officio members shall hold office for a period of three years and shall be eligible for reappointment for one further term only.

 

(4)           Any member of the Council other than ex-officio member may resign his appointment by a letter under his hand addressed to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

 

(5)           Notwithstanding the provision of subsection (3) of this section, the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces may at any time whether or not pursuant to subsection (4) of this section, remove any member of the Council from office if he is of the opinion that it is not in the national interest or in the interest of the Council for such member to continue in office and shall cause such member to be notified to that effect.

 

(6)           Where the Council is of the opinion that the continued presence on the Council of any member is not in the national interest or the interest of the Council, it may recommend to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed

Forces through the Minister that the member concerned be removed from office.

 

(7)           The provisions of the Schedule to this Decree shall have effect with respect to the proceedings of the Council and the other matters therein mentioned.

 

2.            The functions of the Council shall be to-

 

(a)            provide speedy redress to consumers complaints through negotiations, mediation and conciliations;

 

(b)            seek ways and means of removing or eliminating from the market hazardous products and causing offenders to replace such products with safer and more appropriate alternatives;

 

(c)            publish from time to time, list of products whose consumption and sale have been banned, withdrawn, severally restricted or not approved by the Federal Government or foreign governments;

 

(d)           cause an offending company, firm, trade, association or individual to protect, compensate, provide relief and safeguards to injured consumers or communities from adverse effects of technologies that are inherently harmful, injurious, violent or highly hazardous;

 

(e)            organise and undertake campaigns and other forms of activities as will lead to increased public consumer awareness;

 

(f)             encourage trade, industry and professional associations to develop and enforce in their various fields quality standards designed to safeguard the interest of consumers;

 

(g)            issue guidelines to manufacturers, importers, dealers and wholesalers in relation to their obligation under this Decree;

 

(h)            encourage the formation of voluntary consumer groups or associations for consumers well being;

 

(i)             ensure that consumers' interests receive due consideration at appropriate forum and to provide redress to obnoxious practices or the unscrupulous exploitation of consumers by companies, firms, trade association or individual;

 

(j)            encourage the adoption of appropriate measures to ensure that products are safe for either intended or normally safe use; and

 

(k)            perform such other functions as may be imposed on the Council pursuant to this Decree.

 

3.            In the exercise of its the functions under this Decree, the Council shall have power to -

 

(a)            apply to court to prevent the circulation of any product which constitutes an imminent public hazard;

 

(b)            compel a manufacturer to certify that all safety standards are met in their products;

 

(c)            cause as it deems necessary, quality tests to be conducted on a consumer product;

 

(d)            demand production of label showing date and place of manufacture of a commodity as well as certification of compliance;

 

(e)            compel a manufacturer, dealer and service company where appropriate, to give public notice of any health hazards inherent in their products;

 

(f)            ban the sale, distribution, advertisement of products which do not comply with safety or health regulations.

 

 

Part II

State Committee, Duty, etc.

 

4.    (1)           There shall be established to assist the Council in each State of the Federation, a State Committee which shall, subject to the general supervision of the Council, receive, investigate and act on complaints from consumers.

 

(2)           The State Committee shall consist of the following persons, that is-

 

(a)           three members to be nominated by the Governor of that State one of whom shall be the Chairman of the State Committee and the remaining two persons to represent other diverse interests; and

 

(b)          two other members to be appointed by the Minister one of whom shall be the professional officer in charge of the Ministry of Commerce and Tourism in the State who shall act as the Secretary of the State Committee.

 

(3)           There shall be appointed by the Minister an officer to be Secretary to the State Committee and the Minister may appoint such other staff as he thinks may be necessary from time to time including on secondment or transfer from any public service in Nigeria.

 

(4)           The Minister shall have power to remove from office any member of the State Committee.

 

5.            The State Committee shall, subject to the control of the Council-

 

(a)           receive, inquiry into the causes and circumstances of injury, loss or damage suffered or caused by a company, firm, trade, association or individual;

 

(b)            negotiate with the parties concerned and endeavour to bring about a settlement; and

 

(c)           where appropriate, recommend to the Council the payment of compensation by the offending person to the injured consumer.

 

6.    (1)            A consumer or community that has suffered a loss, injury or damage as a result of the use or impact of any good, product or service may make a complaint in writing to or seek redress through a State Committee.

 

(2)            Where a consumer, or a person having an interest in a matter is an illiterate or is subject to any physical disability and thereby unable to write, the clerk or other official working with the State Committee shall cause such consumer or person's statement to be written at no fee or payment of any kind from such consumer, or person.

 

7.             Where a complaint is made against any person, the State Committee may require the executive or officials of the company, firm, trade, business association or professional body in which the person complained against is a member, to enquire into the complaint and report back to the State Committee within a specified period and on the receipt of the report, the State Committee may take such action as it may deem reasonable and just in the circumstance.

 

8.            Whereupon an investigation by the Council or State Committee of a complaint by a consumer, it is proved that-

 

(a)            the consumer's right has been violated; or

 

(b)            that a wrong has been committed by way of trade, provision of services, supply of information or advertisement thereby causing injury or loss to the consumer;

 

                 the consumer shall, in addition to the redress which the State Committee, subject to the approval of the Council may impose, have a right of civil action for compensation or restitution in any competent court.

 

9.    (1)           It shall be the duty of the manufacturer or distributor of a product, on becoming aware after such a product has been placed on the market, of any unforeseen hazard arising from the use of such product, to notify immediately the general public of such risk or danger and cause to be withdrawn from the market such product.

 

(2)            Any person who violates the provision of subsection (1) of this section is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to N= 50,000 fine or imprisonment for five years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

 

10.   (1)           Where it appears to the Council or the State Committee, that a person carrying on a business has in the course of that business persisted in a course of conduct which is detrimental to the interests of consumers, the Council or the State Committee shall use its best endeavours to obtain from him a satisfactory written assurance that he will refrain from a continuation of that course of conduct.

 

(2)           If in the circumstances specified in subsection (1) of this Decree -

 

(a)             the Council or the State Committee is unable to obtain from the person in question such an assurance as is mentioned in subsection (1) of this section; or

 

(b)            that person has given such assurance and it appears to the Council or the State Committee that he has failed to observe it, the Council or the State Committee shall notify the Attorney-General of the Federation who shall cause proceedings to be commenced against the offending person for violation of the provisions of this Decree.

 

(3)           Where in any proceedings before a Court, the Court finds that the person against whom proceedings are brought has in the course of his business carried on or persisted in such course of conduct as is mentioned in subsection (1) of this section and that unless an order is made against the person he is likely to continue that course of conduct, the Court may make an order against him to refrain from continuing that course of conduct.

 

11.           Any person who issues or aids in issuing any wrong advertisement about a consumer item, is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N= 50,000 or to imprisonment of five years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

 

12.          Any person who, in contravention of any enactment whatsoever for the protection of the consumer-

 

(a)            sells or offers for sale any unsafe or hazardous goods; or

 

(b)            provides any service or proffers any information or advertisement thereby causing injury or loss to a consumer,

 

                  is guilty of an offence under this Decree and liable on conviction to N= 50,000 fine or to five years imprisonment or to both such fine and imprisonment.

 

13.  (1)            A court by or before which a person is convicted of an offence may in addition to dealing with such person in any other way, make an order (in this Decree referred to "as compensation order") requiring the person to pay compensation for any personal injury, loss or damage resulting from that offence of such amount as it may deem fit or as assessed by competent professional authority.

 

(2)           In determining whether to make a compensation order against any person, and in determining the amount to be paid by any person under such an order, the court shall have regard to the means of the respondent in so far as they appear or are known to the Court.

 

14.           In the discharge of its functions under this Decree, the Council may seek collaboration with government agencies or other professional bodies in establishing laboratories or in joint use of testing facilities, common procedures or in ensuring or enforcing standards of consumer goods or in assessing the quantum of loss or damage.

 

15.  (1)            The Council may designate as an inspector, any person (whether or not a member of the public service of the Federation) who possesses such qualifications and fulfills such requirements, if any, as may be prescribed and shall furnish to every such person so designated a certificate of designation.

 

(2)           An inspecting officer may, in the course of his duty, at any reasonable time and on production of his certificate of designation if so required-

 

(a)            enter (if need be by force) any premises for the purposes of conducting an investigation;

 

(b)            examine or take samples or specimen of any good or product;

 

(c)            open and examine whilst on the premises any container or package which he reasonably believes may help him in his investigation;

 

(d)             examine any book, document or other records found on the premises which he reasonably believes may contain any information relevant to the enforcement of this Decree or the regulations made thereunder and make copies thereof or extracts therefrom;

 

(e)            seize and detain for such time as may be necessary for the purposes of this Decree, any article or good by means of or in relation to which he reasonably believes any provision of this Decree or the regulations has been contravened.

 

(3)           The owner or person in charge of any premises entered into by an inspecting officer pursuant to this section and every person found therein, shall give all reasonable assistance to the inspecting officer and shall make available to the inspecting officer all such information as the inspecting officer may reasonably require for the purposes of this Decree.

 

(4)           Any article or good seized under this Decree shall be kept or stored in such a place as the inspecting officer may direct and shall be returned to the owner or the person from whom it was seized if the article or good upon analysis or examination is found not to have contravened the provisions of this Decree.

 

16.          The Attorney-General of the Federation may, at the request of the Council apply to a Court for an order commanding any person, partnership, company, trade association or agent to comply with the provisions of this Decree or any order of the Council made in pursuance thereof.

 

17.          A witness summoned before the Council or a State Committee shall be paid such fees and mileage allowance as are normally paid to witnesses summoned by a court.

 

18.          Any person who without sufficient cause neglects or refuses to attend and testify before the Council or the State Committee or to answer any lawful enquiry, or to produce any document as may be required of him is guilty of an offence and be liable on conviction to a fine of not less than N= 10,000 or five years imprisonment or to both such fine and imprisonment.

 

19.          Any person who wilfully makes or causes to be made any false entry or statement in any report required to be made under this Decree, or who wilfully makes or causes to be made any false entry in any account, record or memorandum kept by any person, partnership, company or trade association, is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to N= 10,000 fine or to imprisonment for three years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

 

20.          A publisher or any advertiser shall not be liable under this section by reason of the dissemination by him of any false advertisement, unless he refuses at the request of the Council to furnish the Council with the name and address of the manufacturer, packer, distributor, seller, or advertising agency requiring him to disseminate or cause such advertisement to be made.

 

21.           Any person who violates any order of the Council or State Committee is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to N= 10,000 fine or to imprisonment for three years.

 

 

 

Part III

Appointment of Director-General and other Staff

 

 

22.   (1)           There shall be appointed by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, a Director-General for Council who shall possess relevant academic qualifications and practical experience as is appropriate for functions of the Director-General under this Decree.

 

(2)           The Director-General shall be the Chief Executive of the Council and shall be responsible to the Council for the execution of the policies of the Council and the day-to-day running of the affairs of the Council.

 

(3)           The Director-General shall hold office on such terms and conditions as to emoluments, conditions of service as may be specified in his letter of appointment, and on such other conditions as may from time to time be approved by the Government of the Federation generally in respect of public officers.

 

(4)           Subject to the provisions of this Decree, the Council may appoint other employees to assist the Director-General in exercise of his functions.

 

(5)           The remuneration and terms of office of other employees of the Council shall be determined by the Council in accordance with salaries approved from time to time by the Council and in accordance with the terms and conditions approved by the Government of the Federation for public officers.

 

23.  (1)           Service in the Council shall be pensionable service under the Pensions Act and accordingly, employees of the Council shall in respect of their services therein be entitled to such pensions, gratuities and other retirement benefits as are prescribed thereunder.

 

(2)           Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, nothing contained in this Decree shall prevent the appointment of a person to any office on terms which preclude the grant of a pension and gratuity in respect of that office.

 

(3)            Subject to subsection (2) of this section, the Pensions Act shall in its application by virtue of this section to any office, have effect as if the office were in the public service of the Federation within the meaning of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1979 as amended.

 

24.  (1)           The Council may, subject to the provisions of this Decree, make staff regulations relating generally to the conditions of service of the staff of the Council and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, such regulations may provide for -

 

(a)            the appointment, promotion, termination, dismissal and disciplinary control of staff of the Council; and

 

(b)            appeals by such staff against dismissal or other disciplinary measures,

 

                  and until such regulations are made ,any instrument relating to the conditions of service of the officers in the Public Service of the Federation shall be applicable, with such modifications as may be necessary to the staff of the Council.

 

(2)           Staff regulations made under subsection (1) of this section, shall not have effect until approved by the Minister and when so approved the same shall not be published in the Gazette but the Council shall cause them to be brought to the notice of all affected persons in such manner as it may from time to time determine.

 

 

Part IV

Financial Provisions

 

25.   (1)           The Council shall establish and maintain a fund which shall consist of -

 

(a)            such sums as may from time to time be provided by the Government of the Federation for the running of the expenses of the Council;

 

(b)           such other sums as may accrue to the Council either in the execution of its function under this Decree or in respect of any property vested in the Council or otherwise however.

 

(2)           The Council may from time to time apply the proceeds of the fund established pursuant to this section to -

 

(a)            the cost of administration of the Council;

 

(b)            for reimbursing members of the Council or of any committee set up by the Council of such expenses as may be expressly authorised by the Council in accordance with such rates as may be approved from time to time by the Federal Military Government;

 

(c)            to the payment of salaries or other remuneration or allowances and pensions payable to the employees of the Council;

 

(d)            for the maintenance of any property acquired or vested in the Council;

 

(e)            for and in connection with all or any of the functions of the Council under this Decree.

 

(3)           The Council shall, not later than 30th June in each year submit to the Minister for approval, its estimate or income and expenditure during the next succeeding financial year.

 

26.  (1)            The Council may, with the approval of the Minister, accept gifts, land, money or other property upon such terms and conditions if any, as may be specified by the person or organisation making the gift.

 

(2)           The Council shall not accept any gift if the conditions attached by the person or organisation making the gifts are incompatible with the functions of the Council.

 

27.   (1)           The Council may, with the consent of the Minister or in accordance with any general guidelines approved by the President, Commander in-Chief of the Armed Forces, borrow, by way of loan or overdraft from any source, any money required by the Council for meeting its obligations and discharging its functions under this Decree.

 

(2)            The Council may invest any surplus funds of the Council in such securities as may be approved by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

 

28.          The Council shall keep proper account and proper records in relation thereto and shall cause such account to be audited annually by a qualified auditor appointed from the list and in accordance with the guidelines supplied, by the Auditor-General of the Federation.

 

29.          The Council shall prepare and submit to the National Council of Ministers through the Minister, not later than June each year, a report in such form as he may direct on the activities of the Council during the immediately preceding year and shall include in such report, a copy of the audited accounts of the Council for that year and the Auditor-General's report thereon.

 

 

 

Part V

Miscellaneous

 

30.           The Minister may give to the Council directives of a general nature with regard to the exercise by the Council of its functions under this Decree, and it shall be the duty of the Council to comply with such directions.

 

31.          The Council shall with the approval of the Minister have power to make regulations as may in its opinion be necessary or expedient for giving full effects to the provisions of this Decree and for the administration thereof.

 

32.          In this Decree, unless the context otherwise require - Interpretation.

 

                "Chairman" means the Chairman of the Council;

 

                "consumer" means an individual who purchases, uses, maintains or disposes of product or services;

 

                "Council" means the Consumer Protection Council established under section 1 of this Decree;

 

                "member" means any member of the Council including the Chairman;

 

                "Minister" means the Minister charged with responsibility for matters relating to Commerce and Tourism and the expression Ministry shall be construed accordingly.

 

33.          This Decree may be cited as the Consumer Protection Council Decree 1992.

 

 

 

Schedule

Section 1(7)

 

Proceedings of the Council

 

1.     (1)          Subject to this Decree and to the section 26 of the Interpretation Act, the Council may make standing orders regulating the proceedings of the Council or of any committee thereof.

 

(2)           The quorum of the Council shall be the Chairman and ten other members, and the quorum of any committee of the Council shall be determined by the Council.

 

2.    (1)           The Council shall meet not less than four times in each year and subject thereto, the Council shall meet whenever it is summoned by the Chairman; and if the Chairman is required to do so by notice given to him by not less than nine other members, he shall summon a meeting of the Council to be held within fourteen days from the date on which the notice is given.

 

(2)           At any meeting of the Council the Chairman shall preside; but if he is absent, the members present at the meeting shall appoint one of their members to preside at that meeting.

 

(3)           Where the Council desires to obtain the advice of any person on a particular matter, the Council may co-opt him as a member for such period as he thinks fit; but a person who is a member by virtue of this sub-paragraph shall not be entitled to vote at any meeting of the Council and shall not count towards the quorum.

 

(4)           Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this paragraph, the first meeting of the Council shall be summoned by the Minister.

 

3.     (1)            The Council may appoint one or more committees to carry out on behalf of the Council such of its functions as the Council may determine.

 

(2)           A committee appointed under this paragraph shall consist of such number of persons (not necessarily all members of the Council) as may be determined by the Council; and a person other than a member of the Council shall hold office on the committee in accordance with the terms of his appointment.

 

(3)           A decision of a committee of the Council shall be of no effect until it is confirmed by the Council.

 

4.     (1)           The fixing of the seal of the Council shall be authenticated by the signature of the Chairman and some of other members authorised generally or specially to act for that purpose by the Council.

 

(2)           Any contract or instrument which if made or executed by a person not being a body corporate will not be required to be under seal may be made or executed on behalf of the Council by the Director-General or any person generally or specially authorised to act for that purpose by the Council.

 

5.            Members of the Council other than ex officio members shall be paid out of money at the disposal of the Council, such remuneration, fees or allowance in accordance with such scales as may be approved from time to time by the Minister.

 

6.             The validity of any proceedings of the Council or of a committee thereof shall not be affected by any vacancy in the membership of the Council or of a Committee, or by reason that a person not entitled to do so took part in the proceedings.

 

7.             Any member of the Council and any person holding office on a committee of the Council, who has a personal interest in any contract or arrangement entered into or proposed to be considered by the Council or a committee thereof shall forthwith disclose his interest to the Council or committee and shall not vote on any question relating to the contract or arrangement.

 

 

Made at Abuja this 23rd day of November 1992

 

General I. B. Babangida

President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces

Federal Republic of Nigeria.