By Franklin Alli
Phones and Allied Products Association of Nigeria have appealed to the Consumer Protection Council, CPC, for more time to withdraw fake phones from the market before January 20thnext year.
The appeal was made when a team of CPC officials led by Tam Tamunokonbia, Head, Lagos Office of CPC, and 30 policemen stormed computer village, Ikeja, Lagos state to seize and to apprehend the dealers in fake handsets.
Treasurer of the Association, Mr. Ifeanyi Akubue, pleaded on behalf of their members, saying the issue of fake phones is embarrassing to the Association, adding that recently, they just signed a document with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, to remove such phones from the market.
“Our chairman and the Director-General of SON, Odumodu, have signed a written document to this effect. That was the topic of the meeting we had this morning and that was why members are worried that the CPC is conducting such raid “The truth of the matter is that we the market leaderships are not comfortable with this kind of harassment and embarrassment in the market, so we are working within ourselves to stop it.
What took us to China is no small matter because we are not comfortable with it. We visited 47 factories and we told the manufacturers what Nigerians want; we told them we want to stop this thing from the country of origin. Engineer Bede Obayi and another officer of SON traveled with us. We had signed an undertaken which expires January 20, 2014.
“So please sir, I am begging you to follow this understanding with the SON for us to get rid of these things because we are not comfortable with it.
That is the truth. We will come to your office on Monday and put it in writing with the CPC; after January 20, we are pleading, if you come back and you find fake phones in the market, anybody that is caught selling them, the union has no hand in it and won’t defend the person,” he said.
In his response, Tamunokonbia, told the leadership of the Association that claims by the leaders to purge the market of fake phones is bereft of tangible results, rather, “What we have seen in the market is that there is still prevalence instead of a reduction.
These products are flooding the market more than ever. So, with due respect to whatever you have done, it has not helped the consumers and it seems to be worsening every day.”
“ As for SON, our mandates are different; while SON focuses on the quality of production and sets the standards for the quality and all that, when it comes to redressing complaint of one person, two persons or a group, the whole consumers buying from you, the whole Nigerians- it is our duty; that is our mandate, and that is why we say, come along with us and see these things by yourselves or could it be that you are deliberately stockpiling just to wait for the January 20th deadline you talked about?
So many Nigerians would have bought these fake phones, M.Horse, branded as Samsung. We all are on the same page if you want to stop this thing internally. Any of you can brand your phones as Ikechukwu or Nwosu; that is what we encouraging you to do instead of pass-off because by the time you subject it to laboratory test, it will fall short of quality requirements. It is not a good practice,” he said.