By Jimoh Babatunde
The Director General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr Joseph Odumodu, yesterday said the organisation will not sit back and watch buildings collapse in the country with the use of substandard re-enforcing bar(rods) in the construction industry. He said from today there will be no sales of re-enforcement bars in the country without verification scaling which means that if a batch is normally supposed to weigh 40 tonnes, it must be weighed before it leaves the premises of the seller.
Speaking with journalists in Lagos yesterday, Odumodu said all re-enforcing bar products in Nigeria market must have identity marks and the diameter on the rips of the iron displayed within six months. Odumodu said SON had always insisted that manufacturers of re-enforcement bars ensure they have the relevant equipments for chemicals and other tests, but regretted that when they thought they were making head way that they discovered manufacturers have stated cutting corners.
“This is where we are today, most of the re-enforcement bars in the markets are substandard and that is why we felt instead of using our normal process of removing them that it is also important to alert Nigerians, especially people within the building industry, construction, structural engineers and others involved in this business.” Odumodu disclosed that most re-enforcing bar in the Nigerian markets today do not comply with diameter standard, length and carbon contents among others.
“The standard specified for diameter for re-inforcement bars are 22mm, 16mm, 12mm, 10mm and all that. We found that in almost all situations non of them met the diameter standard , so, for a so called 16mm, you will find number like 14mm, for the 12mm, you find 10mm, for the 10mm, you find 8mm on the average. “We also found out the length of the bar which should normally be 12mm was never so. Clearly some of them were like two meter short and of course the carbon contents exceeded the .37%.”
The SON boss added that apart from the quality issue that there are also serious trade issue that the country should also be worried about, “we had situation where people pay N200m for a consignment without any invoice. They just ask them to pay into an account without invoice , there is no VAT. “It is also obvious that they are also short changing the federal government of Nigeria, because if there are no document to show the cost of the product as against other applicable taxes , it means government will be short changed in the process.”
Odumodu said based on their findings that effective from today no sales of re-enforcement bars can happen in Nigeria without weighing , “if for example I want to buy 16mm and the batch should be 40 tones, it must be weighed before leaving the premises of the seller, if it is not weighed, those people who are dealers would be responsible for whatever happens to them.
“The first is that every product in the markets that does not meet the specification of the NIS 117 of 2004 will have to be removed and replaced.” He said SON staff will continue to monitor the calibration status of the weighing equipments that are used within the factories and any company found to have altered or with the intention of cheating the consumers will be sealed for a minimum of 90 days .
While noting that his staff will be going out on inspection for chemical analysis on all batches produced, he said they will be insisting that all furnaces that are not electric pack must be replaced within the next 6 months .
“The reason we are saying this is that we have found out that what they are currently using does not have capacity to remove impurities and yet most of the iron we are currently selling in Nigeria come from scraps and they have a way of being contaminated and if you don’t have process of removing contaminants there will be errors and these errors can be fatal. “So electric furnace must be effectively employed or any better technology must be employed in the next six months.”