By Godwin Oritse
FOLLOWING the rising rate of fake and substandard import into Nigeria, Importers and licensed customs agents have called for the return of Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) to the ports to check the menace.
They also frowned at the incessant interception of containers suspected to be carrying substandard imports along ports access roads after they were duly released from the ports
Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam said most government agencies not officially assigned to be at the seaports were currently unofficially around or having their operatives stationed along port access roads.
Aniebonam who lamented this trend, said the best option was for the federal government to allow its agencies to officially come back to the port.
This according to him will further promote trade facilitation and ease of doing business agenda of the government.
He was of the view that absence of the SON from the ports leads to either substandard imports or double-check of exited goods.
This is coming after the Senate Committee on Industry urged that SON be returned to the ports for the safety of Nigerian consumers and protection of the national economy from dumping of substandard imports into the country.
An importer and a former ANLCA chieftain, Chief Eddy Akwaeze also posits that delays associated with checking of suspected containers will be a thing of the past if SON returns to ports.
Section 29 (3) of SON Act states that “The Organisation may order the destruction of goods detained under subsection (1) of this section if the following conditions are satisfied-
(a) testing indicates that the goods did not meet the relevant Nigeria Industrial standard; and (b) it is reasonably necessary to destroy the goods because the goods are in a dangerous state or injurious to the health of human beings, animals or plants;(c) in an order under subsection (2) of this section, the Organisation may require the owner of the goods to pay the costs of the destruction of the goods including the costs of transporting and storing the goods, before destruction;
Section 30 (1) states thus ( 1) For the purpose of carrying out the function of the Organisation under the Act, the Director General , other officer or employee of the Organisation or any other person authorized by him in writing (a) may stop and search any vehicle which he reasonably believes may contain any article or product or material or goods that is in contravention of this Act; (b) shall have a right of access at reasonable times to any premises including all Nigerian ports, airports and land borders where industrial or commercial undertakings is being carried on, and may use reasonable force if need be, to gain entry.