Maritime stakeholder applauds SON on seizure, destruction of killer products worth billions of Naira
* SON must look at supply chain in totality – Says Dr Nweke
Dr Nweke :
A stakeholder in the maritime industry and Head of Research, Sea Empowerment & Research Center, Dr Eugene Nweke has applauded the Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mallam Farouk Salim and his management team for their doggedness in seizing and destroying fake products worth billions of Naira in Lagos, last week Wednesday.
His commendation formed part of the press statement made available to our correspondent.
His assertions :
“My attention has been drawn to the above subject matter. I wish to join Nigerians to express our profound appreciation and also commend the doggedness of the Director General of SON and the management
for this uncommon demonstration of administrative commitment in this regard.
“However, may I crave the indulgence of the Director General and his management team to once more offer free counsel on the disturbing national issue in relation to influx of substandard goods into the country. ”
He went on :
“Without sounding too academic, it suffices to take a brief trip to the global efforts at controlling possible threats to international trading activities, so as to appreciate where we are not focusing right on this burning issue of curbing influx of substandard products into our markets, as a people.
“Without incessant reported cases of influx of substandard products imports into the country, one will presume that the SON may have no need to be reminded, but it has become necessary to remind that, prior to September 11, 2001, freight transportation or supply chain security concerns centred on controlling theft, reducing and discouraging contraband and prohibited goods such as drugs, substandard, fake and pirated goods ( that are threatening to human lives); illegal immigrants; export of stolen cars; stolen construction equipment and money laundering.
“Recall that post September 11, supply chain security definitions changed from being theft proof to being temper proof. The reason for this change stems from the fact that, terrorism and treat on weapons of mass destruction totally changed the perception of security across the entire length of the supply chain. Therefore, international crimes and terrorism have become a collective concern to government and businesses due to vulnerability of international supply chains to either being a direct target for crimes and terrorism, or a means to deliver both weapons and goods of mass destruction via substandard or adulterated products.”
Dr Nweke pointed out : “With this development, SON knows better that, intermodal containers have become potential “weapon delivery system” ( WDS) also known as a “poor man’s missiles”. SON should have a clear understanding that, containers as secondary means of carriage of goods from port of origin to port of destination, in most instances are veritable concealment tools. Such concealables are not limited to substandard, fake and pirated goods, hence, the need to concern itself, embrace and support end-to-end temper proof supply chain.
“For emphasis sake, it is on this premise that concerned stakeholders believe that SON should think more of temper proof approach ( that is special concerns to security and safety of international trade supply chains) than theft proof approach.”
He continued :
“To elaborate it better, SON like other security and safety organizations should look at the supply chain in totality and not by focusing on its components in isolation. SON should be interested in joining efforts to secure every link along the chain, so as to create a responsive and much stronger chain than its individual links approach.”
According to him :
“SON involvement with other critical agencies like Customs pursuance to security and safety ( quality of goods) process is apt. It must ensure that, the imports process beyond opening of Form M, starts with safe and secure respective packing of shipments. This includes encouraging measures that deter or provide alerts to any tempering of the shipments, including alerts on defective products quality as the shipments progressively move from point of packing to final point of loading an
d offloading at the ports.
“To this extend, it has become imperative for SON to further its inter-agency collaboration with the aim of evolving or deploying the ISO 28000 – Supply Chain Security Management System.
At this Juncture, I will respectively request SON supervisory Trade Ministry to seek collaboration with its contemporary Transport Ministry with an intent to develop a National Supply Chain Security Programme, taking a cue from Singapore.”
He advised :
“Finally, it is understandable that SON regulatory role is key to the lives and well being of the citizenry, but that should not be politicised with persistence to operate from the ports, in order to discharge its core functions effectively.
“Going forward, I will suggest that, SON should rather review the activities of its contracted inspections agents abroad (saddle with the task of inspecting, register and issue products certification at the origin ports), as the end result of its engagement proves irrelevant base on massive influx of substandard goods in to the country. Therefore, the need to possibly disengage them and reappoint those inspection and certification agents with the capacity to provide sophisticated ICT applications, including deployment of artificial intelligence in this regard.
“May I equally and most respectfully, advice the Director General and his management team to look beyond the port as the main frontier proned to influx substandard products. It has become necessary for the management to carry out investigation as to how transhipment ladened containers enter the ports of our neighbouring countries, yet owned by Nigeria trading public but eventually gain entrance into the Nigerian markets”.
He asked :
In any case, why will Nigeria trading public prefer to patronise neighbouring ports instead of the national ports in Nigeria ?
Has the SON management ever considered deeply the implications of a congested seaports ( leading to massive cargo stemming /allocation to outer /bonded terminals, even when some of the terminals have lesser security provisions) to product quality assessment regulatory and control measures?.
“On this note, I join to commend SON for its continuous efforts at ensuring that our lives and properties are safe. However, I employ them to change their mindset about going back to the port and approach its quality conformity programme squarely, especially with regards to imported goods. The SON has to take its SONCAP programme to the drawing board, refocus, redirect its operations and align itself with the global concepts”.
*** Fwdr (Dr) Eugene Nweke Rff Ksm
Techical Consultant – CREFFPON.
Head Research @ Sea Empowerment And Research Center RGT.