The Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma, represented by the Director, Inspectorate and Compliance, Engr. Obiora Manafa, said the move was to serve as a deterrent to unscrupulous importers and manufacturers who indulge in illicit trade, saying that there is no hiding place for substandard goods in the country.
He explained that the roofing sheets fell below the NIS 180 standard for galvanized roofing sheets which stipulates the minimum thickness for roofing sheet to be 0.15mm.
Manafa also said that SON will stop at nothing to ensure that only goods that conform to the Nigeria Industrial Standard (NIS) are allowed to thrive in the Nigerian market.
In his words, “The objective is to evacuate substandard roofing sheets from the market. We are moving all of them away for destruction. The task force were given a term of reference, but the overall mandate is to eradicate substandard products from the Nigerian market. The roofing sheets are substandard, because if you look at the standards for galvanized roofing sheet NIS 180, it stipulates the minimum thickness for the product and the minimum thickness is 0.15mm, but most of the galvanized roofing sheet we have here fall below the standard and this is what we do not want to allow into the Nigerian market.”
He said going forward, SON would go through every nook and cranny of the country raiding markets, warehouses, adding that the aim is to protect unsuspecting consumers while also adding value for hard-earned money spent on purchasing goods.
“If you use this kind of roofing sheet for your structure, any little wind would destroy it and this is what we do not want to encourage. So, we are appealing to all Nigerians especially importers and our local manufacturers also to stick to the NIS 180. We have valued this one to be around N38 million and we are still going to seize more. This campaign is ongoing to continue in the country. We are appealing to everybody not to waste their money buying substandard goods, because if you continue dealing with this product, SON will seize and destroy them. We are not happy we are destroying these products because it is a loss to the economy, but we have to protect Nigerians which is our primary responsibility,” he said.
We want consumers to have value for any money they spend on buying products. Some of these substandard were imported and manufactured locally and we are seizing all of them because they failed to meet the specific requirement of the NIS. For aluminium sheets, if the standard is below 0.4, we will seize and destroy them. We are doing all of this to safe the local producers of quality goods and we also do not want these unscrupulous people bringing in this product to under-price our local manufacturers and if this happens, they will not make money and lay off their workers. This is why we are fighting tooth and nail to eradicate substandard goods in the country,” he stressed.
He said the seized goods were smuggled in because they do not have SONCAP certificate, saying products such as this must not come into the country unchecked.
“Our Independent Accreditation Firms (IAFs) who we appointed to do inspection activities on our behalf must have tested them and ensure that they comply to the standards. Even if they beat us at the port, we will go after them in the markets and warehouses to look for them. Right here in the warehouse, we have conducted a lot of test on these products, we have our micrometer screw gauges which we use to check the thickness.
We cannot do this alone, this is why we work with sister agencies and intelligent surveillance units to gather information about how to get these products before they enter into the country,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Coordinator, Surveillance Intelligence and Monitoring Unit (SIM), Suleiman Isa, said the goods would be destroyed and recycled, pointing out the enforcement exercise would be a national activity.
“We have succeeded in loading the substandard products and we are about to take them to our warehouse. The next line of action is destruction and recycling which will be determined by the management of SON.
This is going to be a national activity and it is going to be happening on a continuous basis. We are also using this opportunity to advise all importers and even the local manufacturers to ensure that they meet the minimum requirements of the standards for these products. Failure to do this, their products will be seized and destroyed,” he said.
“We have been carrying out sensitization programmes to enlighten people on the dangers of substandard products, but the issue is that people go for inferior products because of the price and at the end of the day the cheap products are not cheap, but expensive,” he stressed.