By Charles Nwaoguji
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has destroyed substandard LPG cylinders and aluminium and galvanised roofing sheets worth over N450 million, noting that these goods failed the minimum requirement of the standards.
The Director, Inspectorate and Compliance Directorate, SON, Engr. Obiora Manafa, said the goods to be destroyed were classified as life-endangering and unfit for consumption in the country.
Manafa at a destruction exercise in Lagos explained that despite efforts aimed at curbing the menace, these goods still find their ways into nation’s shores, while reaffirming its commitment to leave no stone unturned in its fight against substandard goods.
In his words, “We are here to destroy some substandard goods seized from some unscrupulous importers and marketers. Among goods to be destroyed include cylinders, aluminium roofing sheets, galvanised steel roofing sheets. The goods we are destroying are the ones that failed the critical parameters and we cannot allow them to get into circulation because they are life-threatening.”
According to him, these goods came from different sources where some were evacuated from warehouses and intercepted on the high ways.
He stated that the standards for roofing sheets are very clear, stressing that the standards for aluminium profile roofing sheets specifies a minimum thickness of 0.4mm.
He added,” Some of these roofing sheets come in 0.2, 0.3mm which are low guage quality. These are the kind of roofing sheets people use for a short time and they are destroyed and at the end of the day, consumers do not get value for their money spent. We are not happy destroying these goods because it is a loss, not only to the importer but to the nation. One thing about destroying these kind of products is that they are products you burn, but for the gas cylinders we cannot burn them but see how we can recycle them to generate revenue for the nation.”
He said some of the products seized were imported from China and Turkey and did not come with SONCAP certificates.
He noted that the SON Act has helped in reducing the preponderance of fake and substandard goods in the country, as the agency also deploys sensitisation programmes to create awareness on the negative impact substandard goods on lives and property.
“Since we have got the backings of the law, it has reduced the preponderance of fake and substandard goods in the country and apart from jailing these dealers of fake and substandard goods, we also do advocacy programmes where we go to the market to create awareness with trade associations to tell them the right thing to do. Since we started this aggressive advocacy, many of these importers have been complying especially those that fake known brands,” he added.
“When we organize sensitization programmes, we preach to them that there was no point faking known brands, because when they fake, we destroy and prosecuted the importers. Many of them have heeded that advice and they are now creating their brands,” he added.
Also speaking at the event, the Group Head, LPG, SON, Engr. Nwaoma Olujie, said the destruction exercise was in response to the series of avoidable gas explosions in the nation.
She added that the impact of gas explosions is unquantifiable as lives and property are being destroyed.
She said, “In SON, we classified LPG cylinders as life-endangering products and in recent times, you can take a cue from a gas explosion in Kaduna in January this year and there have also been series of gas explosion in Lagos.We have seen the impact of these gas explosions where lives and property have been destroyed and this is why we are taking a lot of safety precautions to ensure that cylinders imported into the country meet the minimum requirement of the standard.”
“We have standards for LPG which is NIS 69 and for all the valves and regulators NIS 220. The valves fitted into these cylinders must comply with NIS 220 as well as the regulators,” she stated.
She pointed out that these importers indulge in this nefarious act to short–change the Nigerian consumers, advising that importation of gas cylinders is not a business for all.
“Importation of cylinders is not an all-comers business, but an aspect where a lot of safety precautions must be put in place. It is a high technical product. Any importer should not engage in the importation of cylinders without following the due process because we ensure that for cylinders to be imported, there must be approvals from SON. Importers must also consistently meet the requirement of the standards,” she warned.
“These LPG cylinders we are destroying today did not pass through our process and procedures.They all failed critical parameters. The minimum burst pressure for cylinders is 67.5 bars, but these cylinders failed at a very low burst pressure and this is a critical thing because once a cylinder is undergoing internal pressure, it is supposed to expand, but these cylinders do not show sign of expansion. These cylinders were also seized as used cylinders and we do not permit the importation of used cylinders in the country,” she added.