Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Monday, seized building materials stocked in a warehouse at Ajayi Street, Ojodu, Lagos, worth N38 million.
SON stormed the said warehouse Monday morning to confiscate some building materials considered to be substandard, and they included roofing sheets and roofing zinc galvanisers.
Obiora Manafa, director, inspectorate/compliance monitoring, SON, said a special joint taskforce was inaugurated by the director-general of SON with the aim of eradicating substandard roofing sheets from the markets, and that was what the monitoring team was out to achieve.
According to Manafa, the taskforce was given 13 points term of reference but the overall mandate was to eradicate substandard products from Nigerian markets.
On assessing the said warehouse, Manafa said the organisation was able to identify some substandard roofing sheets, galvanised and steel roofing sheets, which would were evacuated away for destruction, in accordance with their mandate.
The galvanised roofing sheets, Manafa said, did not meet up to the standard stipulated by NIS-180, which pegged the minimum thickness of galvanised roofing sheets at 0.15mm.
“We have seen that most of the things here are below the minimum thickness,” he said, adding that the organisation would not keep such substandard products in the market.
Reeling out some of the dangers associated with substandard products, Manafa said substandard products would not give consumers true value for their money, which the organisation was not ready to compromise.
In addition, importing cheap substandard products would under-price the local manufacturers, which meant they would not be able to compete favourably in the market. The resultant effect would be to sack workers and eventually force them out of market, a situation, which was not healthy for the economy.
“Once you use this type of roofing sheets to build your house, any little wind will blow it off, that is one thing we do not want to encourage” he said.
According to him, the organisation was going to every nook and cranny of the country, including markets, warehouses, and factories, to identify, confiscate and destroy every substandard product spotted.
Manafa called the attention of those dealing with roofing sheets to always make sure the products passed the quality standard before manufacturing or bringing such products to the country.
While recounting the loss such exercise would bring to the owners, the organisation appealed to the industry players not to waste their money in importing substandard products because if such products come into the country, SON would seize and destroy them, adding that “It is our primary responsibility to protect Nigerians.”
“We are appealing to all Nigerians, especially importers and our local manufacturers to stick to the standard according to NIS-180, which is 0.15mm,” he warned.
The standard body valued the confiscated products at about N38 million.
The body had vowed not to relent in its efforts to eradicate substandard products from Nigeria.
Recently, it evacuated aluminium-roofing sheets in Akwa Ibom worth over N200 million.
“The campaign is ongoing,” Manafa said.
SON said it had discovered that substandard goods do not have SON’s Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) certificate. Products like these must come into the country with SONCAP certificate. But when a product could not produce its SONCAP certificate, it meant they were smuggled into the country.
Manafa advised everyone in the value chain, importers, sellers, local manufacturers, retailers, etc. to comply with the requirements of the standard and safe themselves from the challenges and embarrassments of seizing their products.
In addition to confiscating substandard products, the suspects would also pay fines, administrative charges and logistics of moving the confiscated goods away.
Suleiman Isah, coordinator, surveillance and intelligence unit, SON, said everything was being carried out according to the process stipulated by law. After the confiscation of the products, the next thing was to destroy and recycle the products accordingly.
“Everything would have to be achieved, and there is a time limit to that,” he said.
Confirming, Isah said the exercise was a national programme and was ongoing.
Isah, who said there had been a lot of sensitisations, believed that retailers and consumers who engage in substandard products do so by thinking they could save more money, unknowing to them, it was more expensive to buy substandard products than to buy quality products.
He advised everyone to desist from importing, selling, buying and using substandard products.