Poised to bridging the gaping hole in the rights of consumers and ensure that they consume goods and services that are free from harm, Dr Joel Akande, a medical practitioner in his new book titled, Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence: Consumer Rights and Provider’s Responsibilities, has called on government at all levels to put in place adequate laws that protect the rights of consumers in the country.
He made the call during a briefing held at The Hospitals in Magodo, Lagos to unveil of the book. He noted that for so long, consumers have been taken for granted by manufacturers and service providers, often with the manifest abuses taking place.
Akande explained that the objective of the book is to enhance the welfare of consumers and champion their rights, adding that it also aims at raising the awareness of these rights while drawing attention of providers of goods and services to their own responsibilities.
He said, “This book is about the rights of the consumers of products and services in Nigeria. The right to consume products and services that are safe and free of harm. Where a consumer gets hurt in the process of using a product or service, they have the right to demand an apology or appropriate restitution.
“This right is enshrined in law in Nigeria, as in many other countries includes a situation which, when harm does occur, the right of the consumer to expect apologies and appropriate restitution when applicable. We have to go back to the National Assembly, as that is where the issue is coming from. They are the ones who created and regulate the laws.
“For instance, in Nigeria, when an airline delays your flight, you are not compensated in any way, meanwhile, the individual could have lost business contracts or even missed an important event due to the bad service. The National Assembly has to make a law where the individual has to be compensated for bad services,” he added.
Speaking further, the medical doctor, who is also a lawyer, stated that the legal right of the consumer extends the responsibility of the provider of the goods and service to ensure that the consumer is not injured.
He noted that, though the book aims at helping consumers understand their rights, it however, pinpoints the need for providers of goods and services to appreciate the imperative of avoiding consequences that involve injury to the consumer, resulting from the use of a product or service.
Highlighting fundamental issues that form the central points of the book, the author said personal injury and clinical negligence are applicable to all areas of human endeavour.
“Be it government at any level, private citizens, manufacturers, professionals such as lawyers, dentists and more, where the duty of care is breached and an injury results from the usage of such products or services, a form or forms of restitution may be demanded or provided without any demand,” he stated.
Laying emphasis on personal injuries, Akande said road traffic accidents, work place accidents (tripping accident), defective products leading to injury or assault claims like rape, could lead to personal injury claims and criminal prosecutions.