By Emma Okonji and Nosa Alekhuogie
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has stressed the need for bilateral agreement between Nigeria and other countries to address the influx of substandard goods into the country.
The Director-General of SON, Mr. Farouk Salim, who spoke yesterday on the Morning Show of Arise News television channel, raised the concern of influx of substandard products into Nigeria, despite measures put in place by SON to address such issue.
According to him, “If people can go to other countries, import substandard products and bring them into the country, there is no reason why we should not sign an agreement where we should be able to have them take those bad products back to the country where they came from, and hopefully the country should be able to penalise the factory or industry making those substandard products.”
He, however, said to achieve result, there must be an agreement between two governments to punish those involved in producing, exporting and importing substandard products.
Salim said: “In a situation where our Nigerian businessmen are unknowingly tricked into buying products that they thought were up to standard, then that country should be able to penalise the culprits and make them pay for their intentions and actions.”
Speaking about the dumping of electronic waste in Nigeria, Salim said the responsibility of SON stops at ensuring that the products people are using are up to the standards that manufacturers claim they are, and also up to the standards we set in the country for the products.
“So end-of-life product essentially is an area which is not part of the SON’s purview, as we have environmental organisations that are supposed to watch out for those kinds of things. If anyone is importing products that are already obsolete or are not good, it’s definitely our responsibility to stop it. If it is something coming into the country and it’s below standards, then that’s something we have to deal with, and that’s the reason we are supposed to be at the ports to make sure products coming in are not only genuine and up to standards, but are also not expired products. If they are products that have already been brought in and their life span is expired, then that’s something else,” he explained.
Giving details of the operations of SON, Salim further explained that his men recently intercepted imported used tyres into the country in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, and they were all confiscated and destroyed.
“What we did was to negotiate with the importer to either go to court or sign a waiver for the destruction of the used tyres. We also do that with imported gas cylinders that are substandard, and we destroyed several substandard gas cylinders four weeks ago,” he said.