By Vincent Ujumadu
No fewer than 21600 tins of fake Kiwi polish worth N42 million, which were confiscated in some markets in the commercial city of Onitsha have been burnt in Awka following an order of the Federal High Court presided over by Justice I B Gafai.
In addition to the destruction of the fake products, the court also ordered the seizure of the property of the importers of the fake products and awarded N2 million damages against them.
Truckloads of the fake Kiwi polish were burnt in the presence of security operatives, court bailiff and officials of Asco Investment which is the holder of Kiwi franchise in West Africa.
Counsel to Asco Investment, Mr. Tagbo Anaeto described the faking of genuine products as great economic sabotage because, according to him, it was an infringement on the trademark of registered owners of Kiwi products.
He expressed gratitude to the judiciary for the order and the steadfastness of the chairman of Asco Investments, Chief Sam Anyanwutaku to wipe out fake products in the markets.
He said: “It is an ongoing exercise. We are in every market to fish out the fake kiwi products, especially markets in Onitsha.
“Those involved in the illegal act do so under the cover of a company and we are happy the court has directed the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) to sanction them appropriately.
“We are also happy that the fake products are no longer as prevalent as they used to be as the people involved are beginning to realize that ASCO Investment are unrelenting in fighting fake kiwi polish importers.
In his speech, Anyanwutaku commended the judiciary, security operatives and the foreign manufacturing company for supporting the efforts of his company to wipe out fake kiwi products in Nigeria.
“It is only few people that still engage in it and we hope to completely wipe them out soon. In the past, majority of kiwi polish in Nigeria were fake, but through our efforts, the issue has reduced considerably,” he said.
According to him, there were no more fake kiwi products in Lagos as his organization had fought those faking the product to a standstill, adding that it was only in Onitsha that one could still find them.
He said that even those selling the fake product did it undercover as most of the people involved had resorted to exporting the fake product to Cameroun. “The ones we just burnt were already made to be exported before we intercepted them,” Anyanwutaku added.