But for intervention of the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Maritime Affairs, Leke Oyewole and Director-General, Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), Dr Joseph Odumodu, a public forum organised by SON for importers and clearing agents in Lagos yesterday, would have been marred by supremacy battle over control of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA).
The forum was organised by SON to address the challenges importers and agents face while conducting transactions with its officials at the port.
For over fiver years, NCMDLCA has been embroiled in a battle over its authentic leadership with Lucky Amiwero and Chief Festus Ejiofor both laying claims to the office of National President.
Trouble started at the SON event, held at Golden Tullip Hotel, Festac Town, Lagos, yesterday when Ejiofor was formally introduced and recognised as the NCMDLCA President, a development which Amiwero found difficult to stomach.
The recognition accorded Ejiofor infuriated Amiwero and his supporters. They began to to talk at the top of their voices, engaging in a shouting match with Ejiofor’s supporters and the event organisers; temporarily disrupting the event. The controversial clearing agent demanded that he be recognised as President of the association or he would walk out of the event.
He said, “How will someone who cannot speak good English nor can express himself be asked to come to the high table? Either he comes down from there or I go.”
However, as the face-off was about to degenerate into chaos, Oyewole and Odumodu prevailed on Amiwero to calm down and take a seat on the high table.
Ejiofor however, did not join in the shouting match as he remained calm all through.
Meanwhile President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the importation of sub-standard products into the country has led to the collapse of local manufacturing industry in the country.
The President who was represented by the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Maritime Affairs, Leke Oyewole disclosed this yesterday at the one-day stakeholders’ forum on the maritime industry tagged “Seamless Importation: Building stakeholders synergy and fostering trade without compromising standard.”
He said: “Importation of sub-standard products has led to the closure of manufacturing companies, led to loss of jobs, led to avoidable deaths and have affected our national life.
“We must decide what kinds of goods come into our country because some goods from some country can never enter the United States. Since they can’t enter the US, why must they enter Nigeria? We must henceforth determine what enters our country and how.”
Director General of SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, said importation of sub-standard products has led to the shut down of local companies due to their inability to compete with sub-standard foreign products.
He said, “We are all responsible for the state of affairs in this country. A lot of local companies have folded up not because of anything but because they have not been able to compete with imported sub-standard products that flood our market.
He said the purpose for the stakeholders forum was to build a robust economy for all Nigerians.
“We all have the responsibility to build a robust economy, a better country for our children, our children must be able to come out of school and get a job.
“Also, some of these substandard products have claimed a lot of lives, destroyed a lot of properties; therefore my mandate is not to allow these continue,” he said.
Odumodu also said the level of sub-standard goods presently in the country is not acceptable anywhere in the world and we must all join hands to stop it.
“I was given a job as DG of SON to eradicate the country of substandard goods and I know that the assessment of my job would be the number of substandard product in the country.
“The level of substandard goods in Nigeria is not acceptable anywhere in the world and we must all join hands to eradicate it,” he stated.
Odumodu pleaded with the stakeholders to join his agency to ensure that substandard goods are not allowed into Nigeria.
“We appeal to you, we all have to be in this crusade together because we are all living dangerously in this country,” he said.
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