Dike Onwuamaeze and Chris Uba
The Senate Committee on Industries has declared that it will ensure the return of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to the country’s seaports to and other points of entries.
This, they said would help in combating the importation of sub-standard products into Nigeria.
The committee said standard regulatory bodies are stationed at their countries’ ports to check the quality of goods before they gain entrance into their various markets and Nigeria should not be an exception.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Industries, Senator Bayo Osinowo, who was in Lagos to inspect SON’s projects said it was unfortunate that SON was not at the port even though its enabling law stated that the agency must be present at the ports to monitor the standards of products being imported into the country.
Osinowo said: “It is unfortunate that SON is not at the port. We set SON up to monitor all the standards of the products produced and imported into the country.
“But when we found out that SON was not at the port, we decided to address it because there must be an office for you at the ports for you to carry out your mandate effectively. The legislature will look into the matter and amend it where necessary.”
A member of the Committee, Senator, Nwaobosh Peter, said the Committee was not impressed that SON was not at the point of entry where these goods are being brought into the country, advising that the agency must be equipped and given the opportunity to assess the goods before they enter the nation’s markets.
He added: “For example there are cables coming into the country, which are branded as ‘made-in-Nigeria’ whereas they were manufactured somewhere else. So it is only SON that can discover these anomalies at the port.
“So we believe that the policy ordering SON out of the port is not correct and they should be sent back to the port to checkmate substandard goods.”
Responding, the Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma, said the oversight was to give the lawmakers firsthand information about the level of progress made so far by SON in the wake of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
He noted that Nigeria through SON was leading other countries in the harmonisation of standards, adding that there are 40 laboratories presently, where eight has been accredited and 20 undergoing accreditation to position them in readiness for the AfCFTA.
“All these we have been able to achieve through the appropriation to SON. what we had, we have managed judiciously, but we still need more. “This organisation will be as efficient as powerful as the senate and National Assembly will want it to be. We have capacity for infinite possibilities and all we need is more encouragement and assistance.
“We consider the senate as standards ambassadors. Quality assurance is a collective effort because we cannot do it alone. We need more ambassadors to advocate our course to let people know that there is no other alternative to getting it right than doing the right thing, so if you see something unwholesome say something to SON. Keeping Nigerians safe is a task we must all work together to achieve,” he said.