National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) is collaborating with relevant stakeholders to ensure that motor vehicles and auto spare parts, both imported and locally produced, that are offered for sale to members of the public in Nigeria meet the required international quality and safety standards.
Already, the stakeholders committee has commenced organizing series of training workshops across the country, exposing participants to identification techniques and skills required to differentiate between genuine and substandard motor spare parts with a view to halting or minimizing sales and utilization of substandard auto parts in order to reduce road traffic accidents thereby saving thousands of lives of motorists and other road users annually.
One of such training workshops was held in Kano, recently, with over 300 participants had speakers drawn from Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Accident Prevention and Rescue Initiative (APRI), Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Toyota Nigeria Limited, KIA Nigeria Limited, Amalgamated Motor Spare Parts Dealers Association (ASPAMDA), Nigeria Custom Services (NCS), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS), Robert Bosch Nigeria Limited and NADDC.
In his keynote address at the Kano workshop, Director General of NADDC, Engr. Aminu Jalal, represented by his Technical Adviser, Engr. Abubakar Dalhat said, “Substandard Automotive spare parts in motor vehicles often function improperly, or fail prematurely causing damages or drastic loss of efficiency to the affected vehicle. The implication of the failure of such substandard safety parts in vehicles is often very severe, leading in some cases to road crashes that could cause loss of lives, and in most cases resulting in financial losses, not just to vehicle owner but also to other road users.”
He emphasised that motor parts, whether those classified as safety items or non-safety items must conform to international standards at all times because their sudden failure in service might result in fatal crashes; adding that NADDC in collaboration with SON had so far adopted over 130 international automotive standards for safety and other parts.
The NADDC DG enumerating other critical measures being taken to enhance standards in the Nigerian automotive industry:
Auto Test Centres: NADDC has achieved almost 90% completion stage in the establishment of world class automotive test laboratories for emission, components and materials located in Lagos, Enugu and Zaria. The laboratories would be commissioned by the end of the year.
SONCAP for Imported Vehicles: At our request, the SON planned to start implementing Standards Organisation of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) on imported vehicles by requiring that all used vehicles imported into Nigeria have a roadworthiness certificate from their country of origin.
Product Quality: Vehicle assembly plants and local content manufacturers are being encouraged and assisted to produce good quality items and obtain ISO 9001: 2008 QMS certification. A training programme on ISO/TS 16949:2009 which is a requirement for the implementation of ISO 9001: 2008 QMS for twenty (20) workers of assembly plants in Nigeria would commence this year.
Engr. Jalal explained, “Standards are limits of quality and specifications for products that provide guarantee for their optimal safe use. They provide legal enforceable means to evaluate acceptability and sale-ability (usefulness) of products and/or services. They are basically designed to protect the public from questionable designs (function-ability), products and practices. The purpose of developing and adhering to standards is to ensure optimum performance, meet safety requirements and to ensure conformity as well as interchangeability of products and services.”
In his paper, Executive Director, Accident Prevention and Rescue Initiative (APRI), Prince Fidelis Nnadi posited “Why are sub-standard auto spare part products still visible and enjoying some patronage? The answer is simple. It is thriving because the average user does not understand their effect; it is thriving because people do not know the risks involved in using such products. It is thriving also because of the economic situation. A lot of people are very poor in knowledge and purchasing power but these cannot be a good excuse to buy what will cause loss of lives and property.”
In his presentation on behalf of the Directorate of Road Traffic Services, Mr. Ebenezer Bako said 95% of the auto parts imported into the country are fake or substandard. Their concentration had a dual edge: First, Nigerians were shocked that they have been dicing with deaths by relying on fake spare parts used to replace faulty ones in their vehicles. Second, people were mortified to learn, by inference, that agencies of government upon which we all rely to keep inferior imports away from or shores, including the SON, have largely abdicated their duties, creating in the process a haven for sub-standard auto parts in Nigeria.
The Chairman of Metallic Components Section of the Local Content Provider of Automobile Spare Parts, Mr. Oye Sholola submitted, “We have well equipped factories where we produce parts like Exhaust system, Hangers, Bumpers, Aluminum die-casting parts of the engine, Door handles, etc and are willing to partner with the original manufacturers to upgrade our facilities if need be to meet their requirements.”
SON Desk Officer SONCAP/ Chief Standards Officer, Mr. Umar Yakubu gave a presentation on “Preventing the Influx of Sub-standard Automotive Spare Parts through SONCAP Certification.”