Amid the volatile security situation in Nigeria, the Director Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Farouq Salim has stated that importers of substandard goods are using the proceeds to fund banditry and terrorism in the country.
The SON boss was speaking yesterday during the destruction thousands of imported goods which included substandard electric cables, engine oil, LPG gas cylinders, stuffed new tyres, substandard and unapproved cigarettes and substandard low-grade roofing sheets.
While lamenting 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 sponsoring insecurities and terrorism in the country.
Farouk, however, said the substandard goods are now being destroyed after securing the court order to do so; arguing that the absence of SON at the seaports robs the agency of the opportunity intercept goods on arrival at the ports.
Salim said all the products destroyed were imported into the country and smuggled through the ports.
According to him, destroying the substandard products is to assure Nigerians that SON is actually destroying them after obtaining court order to that effect.
“Most of these substandard products were captured in the market where they are ready to be sold to customers and the unfortunate thing is that they passed through our ports. It will be much easier for these substandard products to be detected if our employees are at the source of the import of these products,” he said.
The SON boss stressed that unless the law is changed by the National Assembly and signed by the president, the current system is that SON is only at the port when invited by sister agencies.
His words: “I am unhappy that a few Nigerians sometimes in collusion with foreigners continue to endanger the lives and properties of our people in the quest to amass wealth, thus affecting our nation’s economy negatively.”
“Lives 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 criminals are 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.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Mrs. Bisiriyu Adesewa, Assistant Chief Scientific Officer, Sector Head (Domestic Rubber) National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Lagos Liaison Office, said NESREA was present to ensure proper disposal of the products.
“We understand that most of these items destroyed are going to recycling companies and the only one not recyclable for now is the oil and we will link SON with a facility that can help them dispose it so that there will be zero waste.”
“The disposal process here is in line with our rules and regulations. The first thing is to dismantle and seperate them, which they have already done, next is the recycling,” she said.
Also, Mrs Susie Onwuka, Head Federal Competition and Consumption Protection Commission (FCCPC), Lagos Office, said the commission had a Memorandum of Understanding with SON and different sector regulators on removal of substandard goods from the market.
Mrs Bukola Adubi, Chief Operating Officer, MisCom Cables and Wires Ltd., promised that going forward, the company would have a good relationship with SON so that more of this evil would be exposed.
“My visit here today has been eye opening and we have been in discussion with SON on this issue. This issue is affecting our legacy, brand and our bottom line.
“This menace given sometime, we will see an end to it and I will go back to tell my people that SON does actually have their back,” she said.