The federal government has disclosed that Nigeria has lost thousands of its citizens to substandard products, saying the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has been empowered to arrest, confiscate and prosecute any person with substandard products.
The apex government, therefore, urged the SON, Nigeria’s sole statutory body vested with the responsibility of standardising and regulating the quality of all products, to work out strategies that will rid Nigeria of counterfeit goods.
The Minister of Industry, Trade & Investments, Chief Niyi Adebayo, expressed this concern at the inauguration of the new SON office in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State capital Friday.
Adebayo, a former governor of Ekiti State, inaugurated the new SON Office alongside the state’s governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and the Director General of SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, among others.
Speaking at the inauguration, the former governor noted that the event marked another milestone in the quest “to build a country free from substandard products being imported or manufactured locally here in Ekiti or across the federation.
“Before now, you all agree with me that hundreds of thousands of Nigerian lives have been cut short as a result of substandard and life-threatening products like: Steel and roofing sheets, adulterated lubricants and explosions from continuous usage of old and expired liquefied petroleum gas.
“Others include Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders, Fires from substandard electric cables and road accidents from expired and re-threaded vehicular tyres.
“With such situations as expressed above, the inauguration of this building could not have come at a better time than now as this will not only expand the activities of the SON from the state capital to all local governments.
“Rather, it will also reduce the cost and turn around time for test results as opposed to transporting product samples to SON Laboratory facilities in Lagos or Enugu.”
Adebayo warned producers of counterfeit products that SON “is, by its amended Act 2015, weaponized to arrest, confiscate and prosecute offenders, who violate the laws relating to standards of goods and services in Nigeria.”
Speaking at the inauguration, Fayemi called on both local and international industrialists to avail themselves of the new facilities and invest in the state in an effort towards the much needed industrialization and economic viability.
Fayemi noted that the inauguration of SON’s permanent office was timely with the recent feasibility study and design of Ekiti Special Economic zone infrastructure currently ongoing through the ADB middle income technical assistance grants.
The governor added that it would enhance the economic activities of the state like never before with standard and quality assurance in its proper place.
While reiterating the frontline position of agriculture in the state, Fayemi solicited for support of the SON to the farmers and processors through value addition to farm processes and products to help increase commercial activities in the state.
The Ekiti governor noted that the state government administration would always maintain zero tolerance for substandard products and services in all its ramifications.
The governor added that the project would complement the efforts of his administration in ensuring standards thereby boosting the socio-economic activities of the state aimed at saving people from wasting financial resources.
Fayemi said: “Without being immodest, the Ekiti people are known for maintaining standards and the aim of our administration since its inception has been to create an enabling environment.
“So, I will not compromise standards, this has in no small measure aided the rapid industrialization potentials of the state and our people.
“I am not oblivious of the SON operations in Ekiti state and its efforts to make standards the watchword of our people, with the commissioning of this befitting edifice today in Ado-Ekiti, SON has shown more readiness for proper execution of its mandate.”
As a responsible government, he reiterated the preparedness of the state “to partner with the organisation in achieving its mandate of improving the lives of Ekiti state residents through maintenance of standards.”
As a government, Fayemi noted that his administration “has always maintained zero tolerance for substandard products and services in all its ramifications.”