- -SON Commends Customs, Others for Synergy at Border Posts
The Nigerian Army Ordnance Corps has sought the expertise and technical capabilities of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria’s (SON’s) on procurement of military items, noting that this move was to ensure that all items procured by the Nigerian Army, meets international quality standards while also conforming to the Nigerian Army’s specifications.
The Director Provisioning, Nigerian Army Ordnance Corps, Brigadier General, Patrick Eze, who led a delegation from its headquarters to SON’s office in Lagos, explained that the Nigerian Army by way of collaboration with the standards body, is to ensure that every military items received into the Nigerian Army inventory are of international standards, maintaining that SON is the only body with the technical know-how and expertise to achieve this feat.
“In line with this objective, we felt that it will be very good for the Nigerian Army Ordnance Corps to collaborate with SON to ensure that all items to be accepted into the inventory of the Nigerian Army meets global standards. We know you have the capacity, expertise, experience and the reach to help us in this regard,” he said.
According to him, the partnership is of great importance, pointing out that it has far reaching effects even up to the North Eastern parts of the country where the soldiers at the battle field will be equipped with quality ammunition to protect the country.
He however stated that the Nigerian Army is at the forefront in the patronage of local industries for sourcing of military items, saying that in sourcing for items locally, the Nigerian Army places emphasis on quality and would not lower its standards, adding that the commitment is also coming on the heels of the federal government’s strong desire to diversify the economy by encouraging local production of items.
Director General, SON, Dr. Osita Aboloma, in his response, said as that Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) custodians cuts across all aspects of life, saying that quality breeds confidence and safety.
“We have been ready for you all the while and all the standards you are looking for can be found in SON. We have all the standards you need that will match our local requirements and international standards,” he said.
He said his administration is geared towards the present administration’s directive of diversifying the nation’s economy away from oil into non-oil sector.
Futhermore, he noted that part of the agency’s priorities is to protect local industries from unfair competition faced with the influx of substandard products while also creating enabling environment for local products to be competitive without compromising standards.
He added that apart from the collaboration, there would be a need to set up a joint committee to review the existing standard and forge ahead in line with the federal government’s policy.
“We are going to set up a permanent committee from time to time to access the stent of our collaboration to seek for improvement going forward,” he said.
In another development, Aboloma commended the healthy collaboration existing amongst the federal government agencies manning the country’s border posts.
According to him, such level of understanding was desirable since all the agencies were working towards the same goal, and that it would help to improve the wellbeing of Nigerians.
Aboloma who made the commendation during a working visit to the Idiroko and Seme borders operations of the SON was accompanied by the Director of Inspectorate and Enforcement, Bede Obayi, and Director, Ports and Borders, Mr. Albert Wilberforce where he was warmly received by a collective of the agencies’ representatives including the Nigerian Customs, National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigerian Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) the Nigerian Immigration Service as well as the Quarantine Service amongst others.
At the Idiroko border command, Aboloma told a delegation of the agencies waiting to receive him, that he thought he was coming to see SON and Customs people, but that he was impressed to see all the agencies’ heads fully represented.
He said: “For the SON, the goal still remains the same, which is standards and quality assurance and for all the agencies combined, our collective aim is to safeguard the wellbeing of Nigerians, whatever we do, let’s not compromise this”.
He said the focus of g
overnment is redirecting from a single major foreign exchange earner to a diversified one, adding that this change in focus was likely to exert more pressure on the agencies, adding that they need to guard against products with health hazards and that would sabotage the economy of the country.
“Nigerians are watching us. And anytime there is a snag, they would blame us together, so let us work together and safeguard the well-being of our people/ we should be true ambassadors of nigria, the change that the government is asking for”, he admonished.
The Deputy Comptroller of the Idiroko command of the Customs, Mohammed Gaginyo who spoke on behalf of the other agencies, appreciated the DG and his team for the visit, acknowledging truly that as much as possible, they had cooperated in their work.
He however appealed for urgent attention to the poor state of roads leading to the post, saying it had been a great disincentive to the economic activities, as many people try to avoid the area as a way of safeguarding their vehicles.
Aboloma who repeated his entities at the Seme border post admonished the representatives of the agencies, not to relent from good works, as the eyes of Nigerians are looking on them. He reminded them that they are first of all Nigerians before they are security and standards’ agents.,
The Customs Area Comptroller for Seme, Dimka Victor David, who responded on behalf of the others, expressed appreciation for Aboloma’s decision to visit, saying it is the first time such a gesture would come from an SON DG.
He added: “I must confess that you have a very very dedicated team of workers here. Since I came here, they have cooperated very well with the Nigerian Customs. They understand their job and whenever there is need to scan any consignment, they are always present. If I had my way, I would want them to remain in the border”, he said.
He promised relaying to his bosses, the SON DG’s gestures adding that with visit, there is reassurance that all of the agencies are working towards the same purpose.
“Whenever we have an SON-related product, you can be sure that we will alert the SON and they would be there to do their jobs,” he promised.