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Counterfeiting: SON to prosecute 15 defaulting importers, manufacturers

Isola Moses

In its continued efforts at ridding the Nigerian markets of counterfeit and harmful products, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has said that it has no fewer than 15 cases of defaulting importers and manufacturers of substandard products awaiting prosecution in several courts.

Mr. Bola Fashina, Special Assistant to SON Director-General Osita Aboloma, disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria Thursday, January 9, 2020, in Abuja, FCT.

In respect of the volume of inferior products impounded or destroyed in 2019, Mr. Fashina said SON has a rule not to talk about seized substandard products in monetary terms.

He said the reason is to prevent discouragement of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into Nigeria.

He disclosed that some impounded substandard products could go through rectification under its supervision while only irredeemable ones were destroyed eventually.

“But in all, they run into hundreds of millions of Naira,’’ he said.

It is recalled in December 2019, SON destroyed 5,000 substandard Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders worth N51.3 million in Lagos.

Fashina said that as of 2019, SON had close to 15 open cases in various courts, including substandard LPG cylinders which had about three ongoing cases.

“We take the defaulters once apprehended to the court for the law to take its course. We present the facts of the case to the court and leave the rest for the Judiciary to determine,’’ he said.

The Special Assistant said that the issue of LPG cylinders had been on the front burner and SON had been monitoring for some time because the products were classified as life endangering.

“We pay special attention to life-endangering products, such as LPG cylinders, iron rods, electrical materials such as cable wires. We have a very tedious procedure for certifying LPG cylinders to be imported into Nigeria.

“That procedure involves that competent officers have to go to the facility where that product is being produced from before we can approve that it can be exported into Nigeria.

According to him, for those that are manufactured in Nigeria, SON has the same rigorous process for inspection and certifying the products before they can be put into the market.

Speaking on the recent raid on substandard LPG cans in Lagos, he said that the cylinders that were destroyed were in different categories adding that a lot of them were cylinders that had already expired.

According to Fashina, life span of cylinders in Nigeria is 15 years, within those 15 years life span all LPG cylinders must be re-qualified twice.

“After the first five years, they must be re-qualified, after the next five years which makes it 10 years they must also be re-qualified. Once they are 15 years they are supposed to be withdrawn from circulation,’’ he added.

He further explained that a lot of those that were seized and destroyed were expired cylinders that were imported into the country while many of them were actually new cylinders.

Fashina, therefore, urged manufacturers and importers to keep to the rules of the game by ensuring that they meet the minimum requirement of standard.

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