By Moses Nosike
In the world of consumers today, one of the biggest problems that pose danger to health and other aspect of human endeavour is the consumption of fake and expired products without identifying them. A great number of these in circulation reduces lifespan or terminates lives at random. And because itâ€™s more rampant than the real and quality ones in the market, millions of Nigerians are becoming victims. The irony of it is that consumers pay highly for some of these killer products and their dealers maximising profit at consumersâ€™ detriment.
So far, these fake, substandard and expired products still remain in our market today. It becomes a big challenge to the growth and development of Nigerian economy. As a matter of fact, the key to market competition certainly is not the price but the quality. Itâ€™s even doubtful whether countries like Europe will ever be able to compete on price. The reason countries like Europe is able to take their place in world markets today is because of quality. Itâ€™s not that you cannot pick one or two fakes there but it could be easily identified and dealt with.
Unfortunately, the only time we realise that we have bought a fake product is when it negatively affects us after use. It is even worse with consumables because the product could have a long-term effect on our health and sometimes, we get to know about it (and seek medical help) when it is too late.
The relevant authorities need to intervene and rein in those manufacturing, importing and distributing fake and expired products. We have been fooled for far too long. Some will weigh less and others more and worse still, even expired (some people even tamper with expiry dates).
It is also common to buy the same brand of powder or lotion from a supermarket or downtown and discover that each has a unique smell. How then do we tell what is genuine or not? The rate at which food and medical products are being duplicated is worsening. Mind you this is health at stake.
There is need for co-operation between customs, various regulatory bodies (SON, NCC, MAN, NSE, CPC) and market surveillance authorities for remarkable results.
The more we consume these fake products, the more we suffer from mysterious illnesses and in the end; we blame it on witchcraft. I would rather we critically analyse the products we buy and consume even as we expect the authorities to take the problem of counterfeits more seriously.
Therefore, counterfeiting, faking, substandard, expired and theft of intellectual property if not properly checkmated can do enormous damage to any economy especially a fragile one as Nigeria.
Today, we are no longer talking about poor quality fake T-shirts or foot wears, we are talking about almost the whole of electrical/electronics on sale in the markets today which has increased tremendously.
It is no doubt that counterfeiting is a serious crime, because it is stealing money from the pockets of consumers, governments and rights owners.