The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) on Friday seized N600 million worth of substandard tyres at an enforcement exercise along the Lagos Ibadan expressway.
Malam Farouk Salim, Director-General, SON, at the enforcement exercise, said the seizure was part of SON’s efforts and commitment to safeguarding lives and properties of unsuspecting consumers.
Salim decried the absence of the standards body at the nation’s port, noting that the fight against substandard goods was best tackled at the point of entry.
According to him, the enforcement exercise was to ensure that the tyres do not find their way into the nation’s markets.
Salim, at a discreet warehouse located in a remote area in Ogun, showed the tyres stuffed in over 100 containers, noting that the integrity of the tyres has been lost.
The SON boss noted that the seized tyres, with no economic value, were like time bombs waiting to explode.
He maintained that SON would stop at nothing to ensure that substandard tyres do not find their way into the hands of unsuspecting consumers in the country.
Salim, who described SON’s relationship with Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) as excellent, pointed out the need for closer synergy between both agencies to combat the menace of substandard goods.
‘’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 you can imagine if there existed 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 other locations.
“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.
“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.
‘‘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 said.
Salim enjoined members of the public to always insist on buying quality goods, saying that this is the only way to drive Nigeria’s industrialisation.
Manager of the warehouse, Mr Emmanuel Ogbagu, fielding questions from the Director General, said the warehouse employs manpower from outside to un-stuff the tyres to be taken to markets across the country.
He said that all efforts to reach the owner of the warehouse had proved abortive, and claimed to be ignorance of the implications of stuffing tyres. (NAN)