Eng. Farouk Salim, SON DG.
Story by Dili Utomi.
The current tempo of seeking out, confiscating and evacuating of unwholesome products by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is being sustained as substandard tyres from a warehouse located in a remote area in Ogun State were recently evacuated.
The Director General, SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, who was represented by the Mike Dakhing, recently resumed Director, Inspectorate and Compliance department who said the evacuation exercise of the seized stuffed-in tyres of 200 containers in Obafemi Owode Local Government Ogun State was to ensure that the tyres do not find their ways into the nation’s market, he stressed that the products have been tested and that they all failed the critical parameters as a result of stuffing.
In his words, “You may recall that few weeks ago, the Director General, Mallam Farouk Salim blew open to the whole world the nefarious activities going on in this community and as you know he opposes fake and substandard products and any unwholesome activity that will encourage it because that is the mandate he has been given. Today we are here to evacuate these tyres which is the first stage in their destruction”. Laboratory results after testing the tyres found them all to have failed the tests and the agency awaits the necessary legal procedures to destroy all the tyres.
L-R, Director, Ins; and Comp; Dept. Eng Mike Dakhing, Eng. Enebi Onuche, Eng. Theophilus Tsonatu at the site of the evacuation
The SON top official said that the evacuation and destruction would cost the agency much money, adding that the agency has been perfecting an act that would ensure the substandard products importer bears the cost.
Reacting to a question on why these tyres are classified as substandard, he stated that the acts of stuffing them one into another have rendered the tyres dead on arrival into the country.
He said that for example, “If they are to bring in 300 tyres in two containers, by stuffing same one into another, they will pretend to be bringing in 1500 tyres in one container and in doing that, this compromises the quality of the tyres and as you know the tyres are made of wires and carbon and the tests usually reveal that the textile strength of the tyres have been compromised so they are no more fit for use and this is why we destroy them”. He continued “The tyres may look nice in the eyes, but we rely on scientific investigation and analysis.”
He assured that the agency would prosecute the unscrupulous importers of these tyres, stating that SON has a law that specifies punishment for offenders noting “We have a law that specifies what punishment would be meted out to purveyors of this kind of illicit trade and we would go by that law, so after destroying these tyres, we will subject these unscrupulous importers to the provisions of the law”, he said.
The tyres being loaded into trucks for evacuation.
He called on Nigerians to always support the agency by giving relevant information should they suspect any form of dubious activity in their locality, maintaining that SON cannot be everywhere to checkmate the preponderance of these products with no economic value.
“I will like to appreciate the tip off to this place, because we got this through intelligence reports. We crave the indulgence of Nigerians and implore them to help us identify not only tyres, but all products that are dangerous to human lives and the environment. We are calling on Nigerians to let us have any information because in line with our mantra which is “see something, say something”, the truth is that we cannot be everywhere if Nigerians do not help us we will not be able to address this issue head on”, he stressed.
He pointed out the need to increase its sensitization activities across the country as Nigerians who still purchase substandard products because they are cheap, need to be warned about the negative effects of these products, saying that as a standards body, it would invest more in sensitizing the populace to desist from the purchase of substandard goods.
“We are in a dilemma and just like any other regulatory agency, when a consumer in his own decision goes to buy something that is substandard and fails to report, this is why we organize sensitization programmes and stakeholder engagement to warn Nigerians about the effects of substandard products, because a lot of lives have been saved in the process of buying standard products particularly tyres, electric cables and cylinders. The SON Director stressed the need for continuous sensitisation as in his words “This is the only thing we can rely on for now”, he pleaded”.
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