Francis Ezem

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria SON has warned electronics dealers in the country that it will stop at nothing in impounding and destroying fake and substandard electronics products that fail quality standards tests and also prosecute the importers of such products as provided under its new SON Act 14 of 2015.

The organisation has also blamed the seeming uncontrolled influx of fake and substandard goods into the country to the long absence of the organisation from the seaports, which are the major entry points of such unwholesome goods.

Director, Inspectorate and Compliance Department ICD of the country’s apex standards bureau, Engr. Obiora Manafa, who gave the warning, spoke at a one-day sensitisation workshop organised by SON in collaboration with the International Market Association (Electronics Section), which held at the Alaba International Market, Tuesday in Lagos. The theme of the workshop was: “Promoting Self- Regulation to Eliminate Fake and Substandard Products From Nigerian Markets”

Obiora, who wondered why many of the electronics importers are not thinking towards producing their own local brands to save foreign reserves and generate employment, expressed regrets that many of them import unbranded electronics products, which are designed to deceive the end users.

He noted that what the organisation does is to subject such products to laboratory test based on the information supplied on the carton or leaflets on the products and if it fails those tests, “we impound, destroy and even prosecute the importer based on the provisions of the enabling laws of the land”.

According to him, in mild cases where a product fails just marking test, we ask the importer to go and do the proper thing, while the product is held in a government warehouse, after which he is made to register the product and also pay a penalty for not properly marking the product, insisting that it is cheaper to do the right thing from the onset.

“What we are holding today is a town hall meeting because we are brothers and sister. In the course of this event today, our officers have spoken on standards, the need and processes associated with registering for the Standards Conformity Assessment Programme SONCAP, Ports and Borders, Product E-Registration, Laboratory Services, MANCAP and the ICD.

“If you do the right thing, you will not need to come across the ICD and that is the reason we are here today so that we do the right thing and remain friends and brothers.

“Someone that speaks the same language with me once imported electric cables and he claimed that the maximum resistance of the conductor was eight Holmes but when we tested it, we discovered that the resistance was more than 1000 Holmes and he started begging me, saying that he borrowed money from the bank to do the importation.

“Of course we seized it and destroyed it because those are the kind of things that cause fire outbreak in the homes or offices without people knowing since most houses these days are conduit. We destroyed it because you don’t know who will be the victim and that is why we are here today so that we will remain friends and brothers”, he said.

The Director, Ports and Borders, Engr. Yahaya Bukar, who spoke at the event, announced the approval by the management of SON for the setting up of a taskforce as earlier proposed by the association as part of efforts to rid the market of fake and substandard goods.

 “Substandard and fake electronic gadgets cause lots of hazards including, electrocution, deaths, injuries, loss of revenue, among others. We seek your contribution as worthy stakeholders in this fight against sub-standard products. We urge you to avoid noncompliant trade,” he said.

Meanwhile, President of the association, Paulinus Ugochukwu, who spoke earlier, called on the Federal Government to address the challenge of power supply and the deplorable access roads to the Alaba International market.

He also urged the government to reopen the nation’s land borders, noting that genuine traders and importers have suffered severely from the border closure.

He assured SON that members of the association would continue to adhere to required standards and ales urged his colleagues to begin to think towards manufacturing their own local brands rather than importing finished electronic products.

A high point of the event was the exhibition of several local brands owned by members of the association including television sets, steel and plastic gas cylinders, musical equipment and other home appliances.