Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Saturday in Enugu warned manufacturers and importers of substandard products to retrace their steps, vowing that anybody found to be dealing on such products would not only have such goods confiscated and destroyed but would also face prosecution in line with the laws.
The organisation spoke as it destroyed tyres and cables worth about five million naira in Enugu. The products said to be substandard were confiscated from markets in the five states of the South-east geo-political zone as well as Rivers and Cross River states.
Speaking shortly after supervising the destruction of over 3,000 tyres of different sizes as well as rolls of cables, the South-east Regional Coordinator of the organisation, Nwagbara Emeka said the agency was worried over the influx of sub-standard products into the country, warning that importers and distributors of such products would have themselves to blame once apprehended.
He said any imported product without the Standards Organisation of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP), a certificate of conformity to quality, would be confiscated, while for products manufactured in the country without the Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP), a Nigeria Industrial Standard Certification, would equally be confiscated and destroyed.
“What we are doing today is in line with the directive from the National Assembly and that of the Director General of SON, on the need to reduce the number of sub-standard products in the market. At our operational basis, we started with market survey and then we started to look at substandard tyres in circulation. It is a nation-wide activity, after the initial raid, of substandard products, most of the products from South-east operations were brought to Enugu office.
“What we have done is to move them to the dumpsite where they were destroyed. This will go a long way in first sending warning to those importers, manufacturers, distributors, marketers and consumers on the hazards associated with substandard product, tyres in particular.
“One of the effects is that it makes genuine importers of standard tyres to lose a lot of their money because of unnecessary competition from dealers of substandard tyres who receive patronage from people out of ignorance; most of these tyres are not made for this climate, some are tractor tyres, some are tyres for temperate regions but they are used in the tropical regions.
“We’ve lost a lot of lives and properties and off course in financial terms, we are talking of several millions to Nigeria’s economy, because these monies move from here to outside the country to bring in these tyres without subjecting them to any form of test by our centres, laboratories where all imported products are supposed to obtain the SONCAP certification.
“Most of them come in through smuggling and other nefarious activities at the port, for now we are not at the port but we intercept them when they are evacuated from the port or smuggled through the numerous porous borders in Nigeria to the country for our consumption. They smile to the banks, while the consumers cry to their graves and their relations are left unattended. People die as a result of burst tyres and other accidents. We are sending them a signal that this cannot be condoned any longer,” the Regional Coordinator noted.
He therefore advised stakeholders, especially consumers to be more careful, in the choice of products they buy by ensuring that such have SON certification.
“Consumers should be aware of what they are buying, so that you don’t buy products that will be injurious to you as a person and off course a loss to the economy”, he added.
He expressed dismay that despite consistent sensitisation workshops organised by the organisation where awareness on the dangers of sun-standard products to consumers and the nation’s economy, some people still import such products.