By Chris Ochayi & Ruth Odiniya
The Federal Capital Territory, FCT chapter of the National Association of Nigeria Traders, NANT has exonerated itself from the alleged dealings in sub-standard building materials.
The chapter chairman, Prince Edozie Ugwu who denied the allegation on behalf his members while reacting to alleged invasion of Dei-Dei building materials market in Abuja by the officials of the Standard Organisation of Nigerian, SON and Christabel International Limited, in which some building materials were carted away according to him, pledged the commitment of the traders in support of the efforts of SON at ridding the nation’s markets of sub-standard products, reiterating that NANTS was never involved in selling of sub-standard building materials in the country.
According to Ugwu, “we at NANTS Abuja chapter wish to state categorically that we are not against the Federal Government policy on eradication of substandard products from Nigerian markets and the economy. In fact, NANTS has been in the vanguard of sensitizing traders on the implication of dealing in sub-standard products. We recall that in this spirit, we initiated communication through letters with SON asking for collaboration to sensitize our members about the danger in selling of sub-standard products.
“We made SON to understand the need to sensitize and educate traders properly on the policy on sub-standard product and registration for traders to ensure the success of the project, so that through a well structured partnership between NANTS and SON traders will have opportunity to understand the policy and key into it because we believe this will make the implementation of the policy easy and smooth”.
NANTS’ chairman who commended SON for the initiative of sensitizing traders nationwide also assured the organisation of mobilizing traders’ participation. He said the union appreciates and agrees with the importance of creating awareness for traders to understand the technical details of standards so as to enable traders differentiate with ease fake and sub-standard goods and produces in other to reduce the influx of such items in Nigerian markets.
Ugwu however, requested that SON should commend the efforts of the leadership of markets particularly in the FCT towards sensitizing traders on eradicating fake and sub-standard across the country, stressing that “NANTS agrees with and accepts to collaborate with SON to host the flag-off of the sensitization with FCT chapter. But we request SON to communicate officially through memo to the chapter secretariat on the subject matter.”
He added that both parties will agree to discuss further in the spirit of dialogue on the next steps especially with regards to the proposed fees which appear to be the only point of disconnect.
“NANTS however regrets that despite its resolve to ensure smooth operations by Standard Organisation of Nigeria to achieve this feet, the agency decided to use a private firm to harass and intimate its members. We are surprised that Christabel Int’l Ltd on Thursday may 30th, 2013 made her way into Dei-Dei building materials market which is one of our units, with a court order obtained from a district court at Karu on 10th of May 2013 against one shop at Dei-Dei market which deals on iron rods.
“The goods are not sub-standard. Christabel Int’l Ltd claimed and reported to the media that she confiscated sub-standard goods worth N50m from the shop. Five years’ turnover of the shop is less than N5m. From the foregoing, it is clear that Christabel Int’l is not competent, and has exploitative motive against traders.
“The company has no structure and technical ability to either stamp out sub-standard products or sensitize the traders properly on sub-standard products. It is very disturbing that she chose to go about the job of stamping out sub-standard products, using the media to sell falsehood and tarnishing the image of Dei-Dei market in the public.