• Friday, July 12, 2024
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SON seals up shops in Anambra over sales of substandard goods

SON seals up shops in Anambra over sales of substandard goods

…traders kick, say SON officials demand bribe

Mathias Bassey, Anambra Regional Office Director, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has said that several shops were sealed up at the Building Materials International Market at Ogidi/ Ogbunike, Idemili and Oyi Local Government Areas in Anambra State on Friday over the sales of substandard building materials and roofing sheets.

The statement by Bassey, claiming that the affected shops were sealed up following the sales of substandard goods was refuted by the traders in the market who had earlier protested against alleged extortion by SON officials.

Scores of traders had earlier carried placards with the inscriptions such as “”SON, enough is enough”, “Say no to illegal extortion by SON’, “SON, stop intimidating us”, among others, protesting against alleged extortion and maltreatment of some traders by the officials of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria.

Kenneth Ofoegbunam, the Spokesperson of the traders had said “SON came into our Market this morning (on Friday) to impound our goods and seal some shops because of our refusal to pay N8 million extortion.

“They (SON officials) first came about three weeks ago and sealed four shops out of 30 shops they told us that they would seal or we pay N8 million for offence they didn’t disclose to us. They said just pay N8 million and you are set free from embarrassment and we said no.

“Then after some days they came again with Civil Defence Corps personnel and we chased them away. Today they reinforced, came with five Hilux load of policemen, Civil Defence Corps, and other security men and made straight to the shops they sealed previously to impound the goods therein but we resisted them”, the traders said.

But, responding to the allegation, the Anambra Regional Office Director of SON, denied the alleged extortion of N8 million from the traders and described it as a blackmail, saying, “most of them sell substandard building materials and roofing sheets, and our people have made efforts to see how we can talk to them to see if they could turn around and buy what is right.

“We seek partnership with them, but because they feel that what they are doing is cheaper and more profitable, they said Nigerians can not buy the costly ones and resorted to selling fake materials.

“Each time we go there, they will lock up their shops and run away, if they feel what they are doing is right, why would they lock their shops and run away?

“The alleged N8 million extortion is not true; if we say they should pay money and they are not paying, why are they running, they should have stand their ground and say we are not paying, not locking up their shops and run away”, Bassey said.