The Director-General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Mr Osita Aboloma has called for increased inter-agency collaboration amongst the parastatals manning Nigeria’s border points as a way of checkmating the influx of substandard products in the country.
He also called for a reconsideration of the policy ejecting the SON from the ports.
The SON DG was speaking against the backdrop of his agency’s discovery of a N5bn worth of substandard tyres stocked in a Lagos warehouse in Lagos last week.
Aboloma who commended his men, especially from the Inspectorate and Compliance (ICD) unit for being proactive, saying that it was their high intelligence that led to the discovery of the warehouse, reiterating however that the job of safeguarding the country against unwholesome products required concerted efforts.
While acknowledging the Customs for inviting the SON officials from time to time, when examination of goods was necessary, he added that his agency’s job would be made easier by it being statutorily stationed of the agency at the ports.
This he said would help their intelligence gathering, and by extension, containment of substandard products in the country.
Some people have suggested that there was need for the SON to return to the ports, so that it would checkmate substandard products before they enter the country, with the SON saying such would be welcome if okay by the authorities.
Aboloma cited the porous nature of entry points, as well as the difficult terrain of their surrounding neighbourhoods, adding that all these made it difficult to purse substandard products already discharged in the country.
He said as a standards control agency, critical points like the ports was required the SON presence, so that all products which did not meet standardisations requirements would be effectively handled, saying that the discharge of this function could be jeopardised the moment such products were first allowed entry into the country.
The SON DG expressed the optimism that the authorities that the matter would be looked into by the relevant authorities as a way of enhancing the job of the parastatal and safeguarding the country and its people, of the effect of substandard products.
He described the job of checkmating substandard products as a sensitive one, which would be made easier with the presence of the SON at the ports of entry, adding that those who wring the products in understand the local terrains and could easily manoeuvre if not nabbed at the point of entyr.
He said his realisation of the need for healthy inter-agency collaboration was what informed his decision to embark on a courtesy visit of the Seme and Idiroko borders to commend all the agencies for their collaboration, while also urging them to continue the collaboration in the spirit of oneness as patriots working towards the same goal.
Aboloma described substandard products as an ill-wind that did no one any good, adding that none was sure who the next target of injurious products would be.
According to him, the Nigerians economy would become the better, the moment, the evil of substandard products was arrested, saying this would boost patronage of made in Nigerian products, create jobs and help in the fight against substandard products.
“We appreciate Nigerians for the support thus far, especially in the way of volunteering information to us, which have led to the containment of some overzealous manfufacturers and importers. Wwe are again telling them to desist from the practice, because if caught, they would be dealth with”.
He also thanked the legislature for providing the legal framework for the prosecution of those found to be behind substandard products in the country.