By Franklin Alli
The problem of the influx of fake products into the country can be drastically reduced or even halted completely if all government agencies manning borders, seaports and airports strengthened their collaboration, cooperation and coordination.
The Director-General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Barr Anthony Osita Aboloma, stated this when he met with representatives of other sister-agencies at the Idiroko and Seme borders, recently.
The agencies include the Nigerian Customs; National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC); Nigerian Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Nigerian Immigration Service as well as the Quarantine Service
Aboloma who was accompanied by the Director of Inspectorate and Enforcement, Engr Bede Obayi, and Director, Ports and Borders, Mr Albert Wilberforce, enjoined the other agencies not to relent from good works, as the eyes of Nigerians are upon them.
He reminded them that they are first of all Nigerians before they are security and standards’ agents.
He said, “For SON, the goal still remains the same, which is standards and quality assurance and for all the agencies combined, our collective aim is to safeguard the wellbeing of Nigerians, whatever we do, let’s not compromise this.
The focus of government is redirecting from a single major foreign exchange earner to a diversified one, adding that this change in focus was likely to exert more pressure on the agencies, adding that they need to guard against products with health hazards and that would sabotage the economy of the country.
“Nigerians are watching us. And anytime there is a snag, they would blame us together, so let us work together and safeguard the well-being of our people/ we should be true ambassadors of Nigeria, the change that the government is asking for”, said.
Responding, the Customs Area Comptroller for Seme, Dimka Victor David, promised to relay to his bosses, the SON DG’s gestures adding that with visit, there is reassurance that all of the agencies are working towards the same purpose.
“Whenever we have an SON-related product, you can be sure that we will alert the SON and they would be there to do their jobs,”’ he said.
He commended the agency, saying: “I must confess that you have a very dedicated team of workers here. Since I came here, they have cooperated very well with the Nigerian Customs. They understand their job and whenever there is need to scan any consignment, they are always present. If I had my way, I would want them to remain in the border”, he said.
The Deputy Comptroller of the Idiroko Command of the Customs, Mohammed Gaginyo, also appreciated the DG and his team for the visit, acknowledging truly that as much as possible, they had cooperated in their work.
He however appealed for urgent attention to the poor state of roads leading to the post, saying it had been a great disincentive to the economic activities, as many people try to avoid the area as a way of safeguarding their vehicles.