SON DG, Joseph Odumodu
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) yesterday tasked the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to set manufacturing standards for foreign companies which intend to produce goods in the country.
The ICPC said it is a punishable offence for any of the firms to compromise on the quality or standards set for manufacturing of such products in their own countries.
A statement signed by the commission’s Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Folu Olamiti, on behalf of the Chairman, Mr. Ekpo Nta, said the anti-graft agency would soon move to the ports with a view to studying the import-export systems particularly at the Nigeria Customs Service’s posts in order to help in tackling the menace of unbridled importation of sub-standard products into the country.
Nta, according to the statement, made the disclosures when he received in audience a delegation from SON, led by the Director General, Mr. Joseph Odumodu, who observed that it was becoming increasingly clear that stakeholders must work together to fight all forms of corruption in the society, including those that have to do with violation of business ethics, in view of its socio-economic costs to the country.
Nta decried the negative impact of sub-standard products on the domestic market where unbridled importation and sale of sub-standard products of pharmaceutical and other health-related items have continued to cause premature death and diseases, said ICPC’s motive for going to the ports was in furtherance of its new drive to fight corruption through preventive approach.
He said the system study in the ports, quarantine posts, immigration and other entry points into the domestic market will help to determine how sub-standard products are coming in and find ways of preventing them as part of a collaborative agenda of re-evaluating the value of the lives of millions of Nigerians and ensure that pursuit of selfish interests by fake-product manufacturers and seller put the lives of Nigerians at great risks.
The Chairman stated: “What we cannot export to other countries, we keep our shops wide open.
“The concern you are raising today has actually come to us.”Incidentally, I was in Calabar last week to attend the graduation ceremony of 69 corruption risk assessors that have been trained for the first time in this part of the world. I think we are the first country in the world to come up with such programme in collaboration with the UNDP. Other parts have requested to have the template.
“They have been given certification by the UNDP and they have been trained in looking at risk in all areas. And the very first assignment they are going to carry out is a system study of selected Nigerian ports, virtually done in huge typology to state out and demarcate the area we are interested in.”
According to him, ICPC will collaborate with SON as well as the Customs,Plant Quarantine, Immigration and others involved in the import-export regime. “You can’t take any fruit into Israel as I speak to you, yet everything can come into my country. “So, we are going right down into such levels, Immigration, everyone occupying space at the Nigerian Ports, we want to find out how these things are coming in, what quality in terms of corruption risk assessment. It is not our function to go and look at quality that is your responsibility.” he said.