By Okezie Nnadi
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), has yet again destroyed seized items which were found to be substandard products at the its warehouse in Lagos.
The Director General SON, Mallam Farouk Salim who ensured the destruction of these items said the importation of fake and substandard products portends danger to the economy and health of Nigerians.
“These people have continued to degrade our environment, they have not also spared a thought for the health of their country men, their brothers and sisters. Look at the Cartons of expired Cigarettes they have imported, it is bad enough that people injure their lungs with poison from Cigarettes but how about those who would have smoked this one? It is double poison,” Salim lamented.
So we are here to destroy these goods that we consider dangerous and harmful to our people. Without exaggerating, their values, there are at least over a thousand Tyres being destroyed, more than 20,000 Roofing sheets, over half a million little containers of engine oil. So if you add their values, it runs into billions of Naira but the value is useless because these products are substandard, their value is poison, you cannot put a value on poison,” Salim stated.
Continuing he revealed that these products were seized from different places, at the market places and elsewhere but “we don’t have the ability to grab them in the port due to restriction. So essentially what our brave and hard working officers do is to go after these people based on intelligence and mind you, we put all these through laboratory test because every product has its own standard. It’s only when they have failed these test that SON destroys them for safety but you must get the consent of the courts to destroy any seized product,” he said.
Stakeholders who witnessed the event were optimistic that SON is doing very well, taking the fight against fake and substandard products to the importers .
NESREA’s Assistant Chief Scientific officer, Lagos Liaison officer, Bisiriyu Adesewa commended SON for it’s heightened war against dangerous imports, she also called on those who engage in this criminal act to desist and look elsewhere.
Mrs Bisiriyu said these fake and substandard products are not only harmful to the society but can have adverse effects on the health and well-being of Nigerians. She however noted that some of these products are still useful and can be of economic value to the nation as they can be recycled for other uses.
While making comments earlier, the Chief Operations Officer (COO) MICOM Cables & Wires and the President, Cable Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (CAMAN), Mrs. Bukola Adubi commended SON for being alive to its responsibility of trying to rid the markets of fake and substandard products, especially cables as MICOM and the Association of Cable manufacturers are directly concerned.
” My visit here today has been an eye-opener to say the least. We have been having several conversations with SON about how to stop this menace in the society, because for a lot of us in CAMAN, we are legacy compliant, we have been in the business for decades. MICOM for instance, has been here for 40years and counting and we know the problem this adulteration, substandard and faking is giving to the country and even to our brands; because I can even see one of our brands labelled here right before my eyes. You can imagine the adverse effect it will have, if one of our customers mistakenly bought this one taking it for the original ones we manufacture and it results into fire outbreak, just imagine the disastrous effect,” she lamented.
Continuing, Adubi said some “companies have erroneously been blacklisted because of the activities of these fakers and substandard product importers, this is affecting our legacy, our brands and our bottom line. So coming here today to see what SON is doing is very very heartwarming, I am very happy and I can go home and comfortably tell our people that SON has our back. Also, that the menace given sometime, we will see an end to it and this is all we are asking for because the public is unaware. They are uneducated, they don’t know, they don’t understand the difference between these products and then, they use them in their homes and we hear fire! fire!! fire!!! It’s bad for the economy, it’s bad for business, it’s just wicked. So I and the rest of my members are totally indebted to Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), for the job they are doing,” Adubi said.
The CAMAN President also made a case for SON to return to the ports. According to her, ” if SON is doing this well outside the port, it’s only logical that if they are within the ports these products will not find their way into our markets again. ”
Furthermore, the DG SON, supporting the idea of a return to the port said, SON will function better within the port, “we will not only function properly because you will take us to the task if don’t do well after awhile. You will see the difference after few Months. Mind you, we have been out of the ports for the last 12 years. So this damage that is going on in the country has been on for 12 long years,” he stated.
Continuing, Salim said the presence of SON alone at port will put fear into people and they will think twice before considering the idea of bringing substandard products.
“So once the importer knows that SON is now in the ports, they will think twice before they bring in any substandard goods because they know that whatever substandard items we confiscate is gone,” Salim said.