BY KOLAWOLE ALIU, Lagos
Reaffirming its commitment to safeguard lives and property of unsuspecting consumers, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has seized substandard tyres worth over N600million.
Besides, the standards body lamented its absence at the nation’s ports, saying that the fight against substandard goods was best fought at the point of entry.
According to Director General of SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, he said the seizure was to ensure that the tyres do not find their way into the nation’s markets.
Salim stated stated this at an enforcement exercise he led to a warehouse located at a remote area in Ogun State, explaining that the tyres were stuffed in over 100 containers, noting that the integrity of the tyres has been lost.
‘’This is a very dangerous situation because people’s lives are at stake and our roads are not safe because of something like this. We have no idea how these tyres got into this country, we are not at the ports and it did not come through us and they do not have papers with us that the goods have been cleared. We do not also have access to the port because if we were at the ports, there is no way we would allow about 100 containers and if you can imagine if another 15 warehouses around the country, we are looking at about 2000 containers slipping through unnoticed.
‘’Do not forget that the country is wide and I will not be surprised if there are other warehouses in the North. It is a very dangerous trend and this is why we are still emphasising that the best way to enforce is to be at the point of entry. This is why about 100 containers slipped through the ports and ended up in the warehouse,’’ he said.
According to the SON boss, the tyres with no economic value are like time bombs waiting to explode, maintaining that SON will stop at nothing to ensure that substandard tyres do not find their ways into the hands of unsuspecting consumers in the country.
He, however, described SON relationship with the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) as excellent, pointing out the need for closer synergy between the sister agencies to combat the menace of substandard goods.
‘’Our message to importers is that we are coming for unscrupulous importers and we are not ready for compromise and we will prosecute. There is no way we can salvage these tyres so we are going to destroy them,’’ he added.
Salim further said, ‘‘We have arrested the manager of the warehouse, but the owner of the product is a foreigner and happens to be outside of the country and we are sure he would come to explain himself and if he does not, we will just prosecute the manager and anybody involved in this property.’’
He, therefore, enjoined members of the public to always insist on buying quality goods, saying that this was the only way to drive Nigeria’s industrialisation drive.
Meanwhile, the manager of the warehouse, Emmanuel Ogbagu, fielding questions from the director-general, said the warehouse employs manpower from outside the warehouse to un-stuff the tyres to be taken to markets across the country.
He said all efforts to reach the owner of the warehouse has proved abortive, claiming that he does not know the implications of stuffing the tyres.