The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has said that lack of joint-examination of cargoes at the ports with Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is responsible for the influx of fake products into Nigerian market.
The Director-General of the Organisation, Mallam Farouk Salim, dropped the hint during the destruction of some imported goods, which include substandard electric cables, engine oil, LPG gas cylinders, stuffed new tyres, substandard and unapproved cigarettes and low-grade roofing sheets worth billions of naira. The SON chief noted that all the items seized were smuggled through Nigerian ports, and were only interceptedbySONofficials inside markets. The director-general explainedthatCustomsofficers were only trained to collect revenue, saying that they do not know how to spot fake imported items.
His words: “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 theylookatitfromtheirexpe-rience, they would be able to detectthesubstandardgoods.
“Don’t forget that our 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 substandard goods look like. Our own people are trained from beginning to the end on how to check these products andknowif theyaresubstandard. “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 favour that we should be waiting on someonetocallusintotheport.
We as Nigerians and part of the government by law, unless the law is changed by the NationalAssembly, signedbyMr President, the law says that SON must and should be at the port, not at the discretion of any other organizations.” Salim lamented that the economy of Nigeria was being damaged daily due to the importation of substandard goods, describing the importers of the products as saboteurs, who were sponsoring insecurity and terrorism in the country. He explained that the substandard goods were now being destroyed after securing court order to do so, adding: “Thesecriminalactivities 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.