—Tasks SON to increase sensitisation to Public
By Innocent Orok
The House of Representatives Committee on Industry has charged the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to increase its level of sensitisation of its activities among the various stakeholders.
The House Committee Chairman on Industry, Dolapo Badru, during an oversight function to SON’s laboratory complex in Lagos said that the organisation needs to improve on awareness of standardisation and assurance to enable the end users get the maximum benefit of it.
He added that the engagement with the public particularly in the nation’s agricultural sector was very critical.
The lawmaker said “Most farmers in the country must be aware of SON’s activities aimed at improving the quality of staple crops, processing, storage among others”.
Badru urged the standards body to as a matter of urgency carry farmers along by making required standards available to guard against aflatoxins and other crop related diseases.
He said that the government is concerned about substandard goods, explaining that the public must be aware of the dangers of the negative impacts these goods have on the economy and the lives of innocent Nigerians.
He expressed satisfaction with the level of work done so far by the SON , while also stating its commitment to return the organisation back to the nation’s
According to Badru “They need to up the ante on their sensitisation. The public are the end users and they are also the victims of these substandard goods. The main point of this visit is the absence of SON at the seaports and airports and this allows for substandard products being dumped on us,” he said.
In his words, “We have seen enough through their laboratory testing and we are impressed with what we have seen so far. We hope SON will be able to do more in terms of sensitisation of what they do. You actually need to do a lot of sensitisation to reach out to the public, because they are the ones who are being affected by these substandard goods.”
He added: “We will make sure that we do everything within our powers to make sure that SON gets back to the borders, most especially the ports and the airports, because we are so overwhelmed in the country with fake and substandard products especially those products that takes lives of innocent Nigerians.
“We have seen lots of buildings collapsed these days and most of these collapse was caused by substandard building materials most of which are imported. We have also seen most buildings destroyed by fire because of the imported substandard cables.
You don’t expect the customs officer to carry out testing and analysis of cables because he was not trained for that.”
He stated that House would invite the Director General of SON and the Ministry concerned to review the law that mandates SON to be at the ports.
“There is an existing law and I wonder why the law is not complied with. We are going to get to the root of this matter. We are going to the needful on this one. We are going to call for a hearing. A lot of building collapse would have been averted, probably a lot of fire outbreak would have been averted, a lot of death would have been averted. These things were imported and nobody checks these goods when they come in because the agency that supposed to check for the quality of these goods have been evicted from the ports,” he said.
“We are going to work the ministry and the executive to make sure SON gets back to the ports. Nigeria has become a place where anything can be dumped just because the people who are supposed to check for standards are absent. We have resolved that within the shortest time possible, we will be working with the executive and ministry concerned to get SON back to the ports. We will support SON in their quest to carry out sensitisation activities in the country,” he averred.
In his response, the Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma, commended the House or Representatives for their support, stating that SON has the capacity to create possibilities.
According to him, the agency has invested so much in human capacity development to be at par with its counterparts all over the world.
“We appreciate your keen interest to sending us back to the ports while also creating the enabling environment for effective service delivery. If we are well positioned we will do more. The task to rid Nigeria of substandard product is a responsibility for everybody. As members of the committee on industry, you are by extension standards ambassadors. We implore you to advocate our course wherever possible because we need to be positioned to enable us carry out our mandate effectively and safeguarding the lives of Nigerians through standards,” he said.
“We will continually put in our best to make sure we safeguard the lives of Nigerians through quality assurance and standards. From the little we have, we have done so well but we know there is room for improvement, but I assure Nigerians that if we have an enabling environment for effective service delivery, we will do more,” he assured.