Joseph Odumodu, director-general, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), has said that some food items exported from Nigeria to the European Union have been rejected.
Odumodu said the items are on their way back to Nigeria, but insisted that the exporter of those items must be punished and prosecuted for not adhering to standards.
Odumodu, who made this disclosure in Abuja on Monday, during the launch of ‘Operation E-Flush’ in partnership with Standard Awareness Group (SAG) and the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), said SON has delivered on its promise to improve the quality of life by reducing the level of substandard goods from 85 percent to 45 percent in Nigeria.
He explained that Operation E-Flush is an initiative that will expand SON’s scope of engagement in defence of quality while fighting against substandard goods and counterfeit products.
According to him, the agency’s testing labs and metrology lab have been upgraded for accreditation, just as its food technology labs have been accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2la).
“Others, including the metrology lab, are near accreditation while a 20-LAB complex in Ogba, Lagos, is at the finishing stage. The construction of the National Metrology Institute Enugu has gone up to 30 percent and would be completed in 2016,”he said.
The DG also said the organisation’s MANCAP/SONCAP Conformity scheme and quality awards have been retooled to promote integrity and improve the quality of products in the country.
“We have also introduced a new inspirational certification Scheme known as the Nigerian Quality Mark, which will separate the men from the boys and inspire the quality of products produced amongst manufacturers,” he explained.
Odumodu told the audience that SON has insisted that the products rejected by the EU should be destroyed even as the containers are on their way back to Nigeria.
“It is not enough to say agencies of government have not done enough when people export goods without letting us know. We have labs that can test agricultural products if they come to us, although no law says you should go through us before exporting, “he maintained.
He also complained of the lean SON staff and the difficulties they face in prosecuting offenders, adding that the ‘E-Flush’ would ensure that only quality products are available in Nigerian markets and will save wastages, protect lives, property and improve the economy.
Attah Mohammed, chairman of the Standard Awareness Group, said it has been wonderful working with SON , describing the outfit as one of the anti- corruption agencies .
Both agencies signed a charter to work together as parties and champions of the project.