The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON’s) surveillance, intelligence and monitoring (SIM) unit has swooped on various warehouses in the ancient city of Kano stocked with suspected substandard African prints popularly known as “Atampa.” The team with a detachment of security agents sealed 21 warehouses stocked with textile materials worth hundreds of millions of naira, putting them on hold until all relevant laboratory tests were concluded and analysed to confirm their quality.
Speaking to newsmen after the raid, the coordinator of the SIM Unit, Mr. Isa Suleiman, stated that the owners of the warehouses were flouting the law by stocking suspected substandard African prints that did not meet with the requirements of the relevant Nigeria Industrial Standards (NIS). He said the standard stipulates that African prints should be made of 100 per cent cotton and must not be colour fast amongst other relevant attributes.
According to him, initial surveillance revealed that the textiles being sold as African prints were materials suspected to have been manufactured with up to about 70 per cent polyester and about 30 per cent cotton. Some according to him, were suspected to be completely polyester which is at variance with the specifications of the Nigeria Industrial Standards (NIS). He further revealed “that the textile products found in the ware-houses were deemed not to have passed through the legal channels of entry but rather believed to have been either smuggled into the country or shipped in under false declarations at the ports of entry.”
According to him, the importers were taking undue advantage of Nigerian consumers and also flouting the requirements in the various Nigeria Industrial Standards (NIS) for textile materials. Similarly, at the second largest phone market in Nigeria located at Beirut Road, Kano, the SIM Unit team also sealed up six shops identified to be selling suspected substandard, counterfeit and unregistered cell phones and evacuated the products for further laboratory tests and analysis.
Some of the phone brands identified to be unregistered, possibly substandard and counterfeit and thus evacuated from the shops were Infemix, TKK, Siccoo, Hom, and H-Mobile etc. The SON SIM team also spread its dragnet to the Emeka Offor Plaza at the Onitsha main market where it sealed up several shops dealing in suspected substandard and cloned phones, evacuating same for further tests and analysis.
Suleiman disclosed that all consignment of phones to be imported into Nigeria must mandatorily undergo the processes of SON off-shore conformity assessment (SONCAP) and the electronic product registration schemes. According to him, this was to avoid flooding the country with low quality or cloned phones that defy traceability and after-sales customer care of any known importer, manufacturer or brand owner. The activities of the importers and dealers in non-certified and unregistered phones were creating huge loss of resources to consumers due to malfunctioning and lack of durability of the products, which eventually constitute environmental hazards as wastes, he said.
He therefore advised all phone dealers to always demand evidence of SONCAP Certification and the electronic Product Registration from importers, distributors or brand/franchise owners to avoid SON’s clamp down. He said:“Products like GSM phones need to also be tested for radiation to ensure they meet acceptable levels stipulated by the standards”. The SON, Surveillance, Investigation and Monitoring (SIM) unit is a rapid intervention team inaugurated by the SON chief executive, Osita Aboloma, recently to complement other departments in the on-going war against substandard goods in the country to rid the nation of low quality and life endangering products.
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