NCAA, CPC issue warning on Samsung Galaxy note 7
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
The regulator of the aviation industry, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) have issued warning alerts on Samsung Galaxy Note 7 use in Nigeria.
While the NCAA directed carriers operating in the country not to allow passengers turn on or charge the device onboard any aircraft flying in the airspace, the CPC gave a seven-day ultimatum to the South Korean firm to appear before it and furnish it with information about steps taken so far in the country in compliance with its global recall directive.
The NCAA also directed airlines not to allow the mobile device to be stowed away in any checked -in baggage aboard any aircraft.
CPC also demanded the mobile phone firm to furnish it with other measures it may have taken to safeguard the safety and interest of Nigerian consumers.
In a letter to the company dated September 14, 2016, endorsed by its Director-General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, read: “The attention of the Council has been drawn to media reports indicating that the lithium-ion batteries for Samsung Galaxy Note 7 are prone to catching fire.
“The said faulty batteries have reportedly caused the phone to explode in 35 separate incidents, sometimes bursting into flames, damaging property and leaking dangerous chemicals. Some Nigerian consumers may already have purchased the phone for personal or other uses.
“You are therefore directed to within seven days of the receipt of this letter, furnish the Council with information on the full status of your compliance with the global directive of Samsung to recall the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 forthwith, including other measures you may have taken to safeguard the safety and interest of Nigerian consumers in this respect.”
Mrs. Atoki said Nigerian consumers who may have purchased the device should, as an interim measure, stop using it forthwith.
“While awaiting the response of Samsung Electronics West Africa Limited in order to determine the number of affected consumers in Nigeria, there is an urgent need to avert whatever dangers that may be associated with the use of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in Nigeria,” she added.
NCAA spokesman, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, empahsised that the safety directive has become imperative because of several reported cases of overheating and explosion of the device.
He said airlines must ensure that the prohibition of this device during briefing on board by cabin crew to passengers.
“Consequent upon recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices, NCAA has directed passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraft; in addition, these phones must not be stowed away in any checked-in baggage.
“NCAA is appealing to the passengers’ responsibilities in relation to ensuring safety and security of air transportation.
“Importantly, all Airlines are hereby advised to emphasise the prohibition of this devices on board during passenger briefings by the cabin crew.
“Similarly, all those responsible for searching or screening checked-in baggage are expected to intensify the procedures to identify possible checked-in Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
“The NCAA therefore calls on all passengers and airline operators to ensure total adherence to this directive as safety and security of air transportation is paramount to the authority.
“Earlier, a letter with reference NCAA/DOT/ALL OPS/VOL.1/00716 has been sent to all the airlines and all other stakeholders for strict compliance,” the aviation sector regulator said.
Mrs. Atoki stated that in line with international best practices, the company should immediately issue a recall notice giving Nigerian consumers adequate information on the procedure for recall and the appropriate compensation being offered.
She urged the company to ensure that affected consumers either get a free replacement from Samsung, or a refund of their money, where necessary.
She also explained that Samsung had announced in the US that consumers with the faulty device could check whether or not their phones are affected and eligible for recall by entering the IMEI or serial number of their phone in a space provided on Samsung website, www.samsung.com/us/note/ recall/, saying that Nigerian consumers can avail themselves of that facility.