Director General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Mallam Farouk Salim disclosed that the Nigeria Customs Service not inviting his agency for joint examination of cargoes at the port, saying that this was one of main reasons why fake products are littering Nigerian markets.
“We are not always invited for joint inspection, in fact, our invitation for joint inspection is rare and in-between, but I guarantee you that if our officers get opportunities to inspect these products, the moment they look at it from their experience, they would be able to detect the substandard goods.
The Ameh News recalls that in October 2011, former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala had kicked SON and eight other federal agencies out of the ports, saying the action is aimed at reducing cost of doing business in Nigerian ports as well as eliminating delays caused by the multiple government agencies at ports.
Salim stated this while supervising the destruction of imported substandard goods which include Electric Cables, Engine OiL LPG, Gas Cylinders, Stuffed new Tyres, Substandard and unapproved Cigarettes and substandard low-grade Roofing Sheets worth billions of Naira.
DG SON, Wednesday today at the site SON Terminal at Amuwo Odofin Festac area of Lagos, sayings that customs officers are only trained to collect revenue, and that they do not know how to spot fake imported items.
In his words: “all the items destroyed today by the agency were smuggled through Nigerian ports and were only intercepted by SON officials inside the markets, ready to be sold out.
Don’t forget that our fellow brothers and sisters in the customs service are only trained to charge for duty payment, they have no idea what cable looks like or what a substandard goods looks like, he reiterated.
“Our own people are trained from beginning to the end on how to check on the products quality and know if they are substandard.
“We do not have unfettered access like the constitution said we should, the law in 2015 Act says that we must be allowed to be at the port, it is not a favor that we should be waiting on someone to call us into the port, we as Nigerians and part of the government by law, unless the law is changed by the National Assembly, signed by Mr President, the law says that SON must and should be at the port, not at the discretion of any other organizations”, he query
Nevertheless, the SON DG lamented that the economy of Nigeria is damaged daily due to the importation of substandard goods. He described the importers of these products as saboteurs who are indirectly sponsoring insecurities and terrorism in the country.
Salim revealed that this substandard goods are now being destroyed after securing the court order to do so.
The fake cylinders according to him usually leads to explosions at homes while the substandard cables lead to fire outbreaks.
The DG and some SON officials including officials from sister agencies including Police from FCID along with journalist watch some substandard wires and cables including Coleman wire and cable brand be destroyed at SON Terminal in Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos on Wednesday
The DG further said all these products were smuggled into the country through the ports, if we are in the ports, we would be able to limit the number of fake products, but we only raided these items in the market where they are ready to be sold to unsuspecting customers.
“Many Life are lost, properties are lost, and these criminals doing these activities must be brought to book, some of them are already in jail, some are in court.
“These criminal activities is sponsoring terrorism, separatism and banditry in this country. So it is not just selling substandard goods, they are now using the proceeds to attack us. We are not resting on our oars in ensuring that we fight this war.
“It would be much easier for us if we are at the point of importation of these products.
“The importers are doing the nefarious activities in order to double profits. They do this intentionally, we have information that they are using the proceeds to sponsor insecurity in Nigeria.
“We have genuine manufacturers of these items in Nigeria but they have been forced out of business because of the influx of substandard goods, this act is taking away jobs from families and communities, we have unemployed youths everywhere” he stated
Salim therefore, urged all Nigerians to joint the quality vanguard by providing useful information to securities through our various channels like too free lines, better still, our email address our 48 offices spread across all states of federation and the federal capital territory