In its renewed efforts at ridding the country of fake and substandard products, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria SON has destroyed substandard Liquefied Petroleum Gas LPG cylinders, aluminum and galvanised roofing sheets estimated at over N450 million. Most of these products were imported from China and Turkey.

Director, Inspectorate and Compliance Department ICD of the country’s apex standards bureau Engr. Obiora Manafa, who spoke in Lagos, Tuesday, during the destruction of the illicit products, disclosed that the affected goods have been classified as life-endangering and unfit for human use.

The Director stated that the agency is more committed to its fight against fake and substandard products, assuring that it will make life miserable for importers of such products, as no stone will be left unturned in this renewed onslaught against substandard goods across the country.

According to him, the agency has over the years made several efforts at educating and enlightening importers across all the segments of the supply chain in the country on the need to desist from importing fake and substandard products, which are both harmful to the citizens and national economy.

He regretted that many recalcitrant and die-hard importers of these illicit goods have remained adamant, a development that has left the agency with the only option of strictly enforcing product standards in line with global best practice.

“Despite our efforts to curb this menace, the products still find their ways into the country through unverified route and means. We are here to destroy some substandard goods seized from some unscrupulous importers and marketers.

“Among the goods to be destroyed are LPG cylinders, aluminum roofing sheets and galvanised steel roofing sheets. These goods failed to meet with the critical parameters, and we cannot allow them to get into the circulation, because they are life-threatening,” he said.

It was further gathered that the destroyed products were imported from different sources; even as some of them were seized from the warehouses of the importer while some others were intercepted on the highways.

Records also show that the globally accepted standards for roofing sheets is a minimum thickness of 0.4mm, while many of those slated for destruction are far less than 0.44mm, which makes them unfit for human use.

 “Some of these roofing sheets are between 0.2mm and 0.3mm, which are low guage quality.

“These are the kinds of roofing sheets people use for a short time and they are destroyed; at the end of the day, consumers do not get value for their money. We are not happy destroying these goods because it is a loss, not only to the importer, but to the nation.

“One thing about destroying these kinds of products is that they are products you burn; but for the gas cylinders, we cannot burn them, but see how we can recycle them to generate revenue for the nation. Many of these products to be destroyed were imported from China and Turkey, and were without SONCAP certificates”.

Obiora cited the SON Act 2015 (as amended), which had helped in reducing the incidence of fake and substandard goods in Nigeria.

“Since we got the backings of the law, it has reduced the preponderance of fake and substandard goods in the country. Apart from jailing these dealers of fake and substandard goods, we also do advocacy programmes where we go to the markets to create awareness with trade associations, to tell them the right thing to do.

“Since we started this aggressive advocacy, many of these importers have been complying, especially those who know fake brands,” he said.

Meanwhile, Group Head, LPG, SON, Mrs. Nwaoma Olujie, while speaking at the event, said that the destruction was in response to the series of avoidable gas explosions in the nation.

Olujie said that the impact of gas explosions was unquantifiable, as lives and property were usually destroyed.

“In SON, we classified LPG cylinders as life-endangering products and in recent times, you can take a cue from a gas explosion in Kaduna in January this year and there have also been series of gas explosions in Lagos.

“We have seen the impact of these gas explosions where lives and property have been destroyed. This is why we are taking a lot of safety precautions to ensure that cylinders imported into the country meet the minimum requirements of the standard.We have standards for LPG, which is NIS 69 and for all the valves and regulators, NIS 220.

“The valves, which would be fitted into these cylinders, must comply with NIS 220, as well as the regulators. Importation of cylinders is not an all-comers business, but an aspect where a lot of safety precautions must be put in place, as it is a highly technical product. Importers should not engage in the importation of cylinders without following the due process, because we ensure that for cylinders to be imported there must be approvals from the agency.

“These LPG cylinders we are destroying today did not pass through SON’s process and procedures. They all failed critical parameters, as the minimum burst pressure for cylinders is 67.5 bars. “However, these cylinders failed at a very low burst pressure and this is a critical thing. Once a cylinder undergoes internal pressure, it is supposed to expand, but these cylinders do not show sign of expansion”, she had also said

Olujie pointed out that the importers of substandard products indulged in this nefarious act, to short-change the Nigerian consumers.