Commemorating World Consumer Rights Day 2024


World Consumer Rights Day, celebrated on March 15 every year, is a global event designed to raise awareness about consumer rights and needs across the globe. This is in appreciation of the fact that every consumer who buys various products, goods, and services, has the right to have information on the quality, purity, price, and standard of those products.

As the world today commemorates the event for the year 2024, we embark on a journey of reflection and advocacy for the rights of consumers worldwide. This year’s theme, as designated by the Consumer International, is “Fair and Responsible AI for Consumers”. It is in order to delve into the significance of the theme and explore its practical implications in the Nigerian context.

It is no longer news that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has permeated various aspects of our lives, revolutionizing how we interact with technology and businesses. From personalized recommendations on e-commerce platforms to chatbots assisting with customer service inquiries, AI has indisputably become an integral part of the consumer experience. However, the theme, “Fair and Responsible AI for Consumers” is aimed at mobilizing efforts towards examining the ethical implications of AI and ensuring that AI technologies prioritize consumers’ welfare.

In the Nigerian context, the impact of AI on consumers is tangible across several sectors. In the financial sector, many Nigerians rely on AI-powered financial technology solutions for banking, payments, and investment purposes. However, while these technologies offer convenience and accessibility, there are concerns regarding data privacy, security, and the potential for algorithmic biases to exclude certain demographics from accessing financial services.

Apart from the financial sector advantage of AI, AI has equally facilitated the rise of e-commerce platforms in Nigeria. AI algorithms personalize product recommendations and streamline shopping experience. Be that as it may, consumers must be vigilant about data protection and transparent pricing practices to ensure they are not exploited or misled.

AI is increasingly being utilized in healthcare settings to improve diagnostics, treatment planning, and patient care. In Nigeria, initiatives such as telemedicine platforms and AI-powered medical devices have the potential to enhance access to healthcare services, especially in remote areas. However, there is a need for robust regulatory frameworks to address concerns related to data security, medical ethics, and equitable access to AI-driven healthcare solutions.

Nigerian consumers are urged to seek requisite knowledge so they can get informed and proactive in advocating for their rights in the age of AI. Some practical towards achieving this include: education. As consumers, we must be educated and informed about how AI technologies impact our daily lives, including understanding data collection practices, algorithmic biases, and privacy implications.

It is equally our right as consumers to demand transparency at all times. We must hold businesses and service providers accountable for their use of AI algorithms and data practices. We should equally advocate for transparency in decision-making processes and the responsible handling of consumer data.

Also critical is the need for us to support government regulatory efforts. We need to engage with policymakers and advocacy groups like Nigerian Communications Commission, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission etc to push for regulations that promote fair and responsible AI practices, including data protection laws, algorithmic transparency requirements, and consumer rights legislation.

On the occasion of World Consumer Rights Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to championing principles of fairness, transparency, and accountability in the realm of AI. Through advocacy for fair and responsible AI for consumers, we can ensure that technology serves to empower and uplift Nigerian consumers, rather than exploit or marginalize them.

Together, we should leave no stone unturned in creating a future where AI benefits all members of society, without leaving anyone behind.

Written by:
Dr. Adeola Ayodele
Lecturer, Department of Marketing and Electronic Commerce
Ñnamdi Azikiwe University Awka.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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