By Franklin Alli
Recently, more than 200 workers(admin, production and management staff) of Hong Xing Steel Company Limited, at Amuwo- Odofin industrial estate in Lagos, were ordered out of the company’s premise, leaving only security personnel at the gate.
“Right now, the directive has been given to me by the Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, Joseph Nkem Odumodu, to seal-off this company and every other company that belong to the group until they are ready to fully comply with the required specifications for Nigeria steel sector which is NIS117: 2004,” said Samuel Ayuba, Principal Standards Engineer, who led a team of the agency’s Inspectorate and Enforcement officers to shut down the company.
The workers reluctantly obeyed the police as they filed out, lamenting: “We have not been paid our salary for last month; we don’t know when the company would be reopened; “why is government doing this to us; “My wife is nursing a baby….”
Ayuba said that the seal off had become necessary because the company was not producing its 10 millimeter reinforcement bars according to standards.
“Reinforcement bars are very critical products in the construction industry. To avoid collapses of buildings and structures, we must make sure that every reinforcement bars that are produced meets the required standards for the country.
“When we came one month ago, we saw what they were doing; we conducted tensile and chemical analysis on the spot and we found some irregularities or defects; and we told the management of the company to adjust their production and ensure that whatever they produce complies with Nigeria’s standards for the steel sector.
“We came back today to verify if they have complied with the specifications or not.
Again, an on the spot tests we carried out showed that the irregularities are still prominent in the products.