Citing challenges at the nation’s ports and borders as well as lack of compliance to extant rules and provisions on product standards by importers, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has described the war on sub-standard goods as continuous, even as new strategies would be deployed.
To this end, the standards body shut several shops in the Auto Spare Parts and Machinery Dealers Association (ASPAMDA) market along the Lagos/ Badagry expressway and arrested serial counterfeiters and importers of fake and sub-standard goods.
The market had come under SON’s enforcement activities following several surveillance exercises undertaken as a result of constant complaints by the public who have endured years of losing their investment to merchants of fake auto parts, machineries, batteries among thers.
The Director -General Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Osita Aboloma, said currently of much concern is the fraudulent cloning and faking of WSK Rotor Heads by one Ikechukwu Egwuatu, the manager of Munduo Auto Limited despite a seal order by a Court of competent jurisdiction.
“This man has been importing substandard Rotor Heads with another person’s trade mark. He was arrested three years ago and rather than refraining from the illegal Act, he decided to go to court and predictably lost at the court. Unfortunately, he has refused all entreaties and we were left with no other option but to bring to bear the full weight of the law on him to serve as deterrent”, he added.
He frowned at the practice of cloning successful brands by unscrupulous business men to make quick gains, depriving the trade mark owners of their benefit.
He said that SON Act 2015 empowers the agency to arrest and prosecute offenders and warned that they would make it impossible for fakers to thrive.
Aboloma, who was represented by the agency’s Director of Market Surveillance, Isa Suleiman said SON has been working on every sector to bring sanity and also raise the confidence of both manufacturers and consumers.
He said standards are improved and reviewed regularly to meet up with current realities.
On the arrest of several battery and tyre importers and the sealing of their warehouses in the market, he explained that many of them have been found to be engaging in illegal relabeling of popular battery brands with low quality varieties.
He added that they go to the extent of labelling wrong capacities on the batteries, therefore deceiving the public.
Furthermore, he said the agency has done a lot to rid the country of fake and sub-standard tyres by carrying out surprise raids on unscrupulous importers insisting that it is imperative for motorists to observe safety standards in the purchase of tyres.
On the call by some section of the traders for more enlightenment and sensitisation on standardization decrying the huge amount they lose when apprehended by the agency, Suleiman said they have no reason to import fake and sub-standard products into the country especially when the agency have guidelines to guide importers and indigenous manufactures on standardisation.
In his words: “We have SON Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) for importers to ensure that whatever they import is in conformity with the nation’s standards from the country of origin while the MANCAP scheme is a detailed guideline for local manufacturers to ensure quality and standard in the production process”.