The Tin Can Island Port Command of Nigeria Customs Service has handed over three 20-ft containers laden with substandard electrical cables to officials of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
Addressing newsmen during the handover last weekend, Controller of the command, Comptroller Yusuf Bashar disclosed that the seizures which were detected during a routine check by his men were imported but made to appear as if they were produced locally by a reputable company, Kablemetal Nigeria Limited.
He explained that despite efforts of SON and other regulatory agencies, unscrupulous importers have continued to import fake and substandard goods that are harmful to human lives.
He said apart from destroying lives and properties, importation of fake and substandard cables impacts negatively on local and genuine investments in the country.
The Controller added that the feat is a product of inter-agency collaboration, even as he assured that the command will not rest on its oars to facilitate legitimate trade and protect the nation’s economy.
He assured that his command will keep inter agency relationship alive to ensure maximum collection of duties and always prevent importation of prohibited items into the country.
According to the customs chief, the importer wanted to take advantage of the good reputation of made in Nigeria cables to import fake products using the made in Nigeria label for unsuspecting users to buy.
“Three 20-ft containers containing offending cables were imported into the country by a trader. But we discovered it is coming with an ulterior motive. Electrical cables made in Nigeria are applauded locally and internationally. So, the importer and trader know that bringing substandard ones with the name of a reputable local firm would certainly sell. So, that was the intention; to deceive people but we all know using substandard electrical cables is disastrous. We see hotels, houses, companies and all important edifices engulf in fire. Some of them are caused by faulty cables. So, we cannot allow this economic sabotage and risk to lives,” he said.
Bashar also urged the SON to hasten up with the automation of its procedures to make monitoring and compliance with standards much easier.
“The automation is key. It’ll make our job easier. We can follow up on manifest and all that. But we’ll also sustain the existing inter-agency cooperation. It’s a good development because we synergize on all fronts. It’s SON’s duty to ensure quality of what we use or consume in Nigeria. So, we’re handing over these materials to them for further investigation in order to get to the root of the matter. So, feedback is necessary and we expect to get it. We’ve always handed over impounded materials to the agency in charge of such impounded material. It is part of the inter-agency collaboration”, he said.
In his response, Deputy Director Inspectorate and Compliance, SON, Suleiman Isa commended Customs for the support even as he assured that the existing relationship will be sustained.
Isa also revealed that SON’s automation and e-clearance procedures are 95 per cent completed, pointing out that a full investigation into the offensive import has begun.
“We are about 95 per cent compliant on our e-clearance platform. We have been working on these consignment for some time and we have done a joint examination by taking samples and have already initiated the investigation on this consignment and as we were told, the consignment carry made-in-Nigeria showing that the product is highly substandard. We are all aware that these products are live-endangering products because they are products that cause fire leading to destruction of lives and properties in the country.
“We are going to conclude with the laboratory analysis and come out with the result. Meanwhile, we are going to take the container to our premises for further investigation,” he said.
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