*Seals large warehouse uncovers at remote area in Ogun State
*Arrests warehouse manager
(Report by Udeme Clement):
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), is on red alert, warning Nigerians on the dangers of buying substandard tyres capable of killing innocent people on the roads.
The Director-General (DG) of SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, did not only give a strong-signal, his enforcement officers averted what would have been a major disaster in the country by swiftly seizing substandard tyres stuffed in over 100 containers and smuggled into the country illegally.
Addressing Journalists during enforcement exercise yesterday, the DG of SON, disclosed that the illegally stuffed tyres worth about N600 million in monetary value.
He added that the sealed warehouse, which is extraordinarily large has the capability to accommodate more than 300 containers of tyres.
Salim frowned at the nefarious activities of some importers bringing substandard tyres into the country, to the detriment of human lives.
His assertions; “This is a very dangerous situation because innocent lives are at stake and our roads are not safe because of something like this. Anybody buying tyres should do physical examination and visual examination as well.
“We have no idea how these tyres got into this country, because we are not at the seaports. They did not come through us and do not have papers with us that the goods have been cleared.
“We do not also have access to the seaports, because if we were at the ports, there is no way we would allow over 100 containers of stuffed tyres into our markets. You can imagine another 15 warehouses around the country with these kind of tyres. It means we are looking at about 2000 containers slipping through unnoticed”.
Responding to questions on the ingenuity and resilience of SON’s officials in uncovering such a mighty warehouse at remote area within Obafemi Owode community in Ogun State, he said, “We have our own intelligence, which we use in our operations to investigate and seize substandard goods.
“Before declaring a tyre substandard, it would have been tested in the laboratory and found short of the requirements of NIS 252 2017 standards. If the tyres are used and expired, the tyres are substandard. If the tyres are stuffed like what we are seeing here, the tyres are also substandard.
“Stuffing means putting a smaller tyre into a bigger one; and another bigger tyre into the biggest one, to evade payment of Import duties and shipping cost, in order to make too much profits.
“Sadly, in the act of making too much profits, they do not consider quality implication of these tyres and human lives involved”.
The SON DG pointed out: “You can see how importers of substandard products have resorted to operating from remote areas, in a bid to avoid the Eagle-eye of Standards Organisation of Nigeria.
“Importers are now taking advantage of the vastness of the country to warehouse substandard goods at different hide outs.
No matter their antics, they will not escape the enforcement team of SON”.
On SON’s working synergy with Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), he described it as excellent, emphasising the importance of greater collaboration among sister agencies.
According to him, such synergy is imperative to curtail influx of substandard goods into the economic environment.
“Our message to importers is that we are coming for unscrupulous ones and we are not ready for compromise. We must prosecute those found culpable. There is no way we can salvage these tyres, so we are going to destroy them accordingly.
‘‘We have arrested the manager of the warehouse but the owner of the goods is a foreigner, who is outside the country at present. We are sure he will come to explain himself. If he does not, we will prosecute the manager and anybody involved in this property’’.
Below are pictures showing the DG of SON, Mallam Farouk Salim; Surveillance Officer, Mr. Muhammad Musa Saeed; Desk Officer, Ports and Borders, Mohammed Sanni; Deputy Director, (ICD), Engineer. Enebi Onucheyo, Acting Director, Inspectorate and Compliance Department (ICD), Mark Manady Dakhling, and other officials of SON, during seizure of over N600 million worth of substandard tyres, yesterday.