By Innocent Orok
The Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mallam Farouk Salim has described journalists as next to the Military in defending and projecting the country and urged them to work together to fixed the country.
The SON helmsman made this assertion during a one day capacity development workshop organized by the SON for the media in Lagos on Tuesday.
Salim who lamented that he is sensing the traits that happened in Rwanda in the Country urges journalists to be objective and factual in their reportage of what is going on in the Nigeria.
In his speech he said “I am delighted to meet with you all as worthy collaborators in the Nigerian project. i understand that you have over the years been of tremendous support in telling the SON story and educating your readers, viewers and listeners on our activities and challenges as it relates to the welfare of Nigerians and growth of the economy.
“we cannot thank you enough, but rather request an even more robust collaboration as partners in progress and patriots. I am grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari for giving me this opportunity to further contribute to nation building through the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
” Please rest assured that I am here to make SON better by building on existing structures and achievements over the years, to improve on our service delivery as well as relationships with stakeholders, including the media.
” I have been working in the diaspora for about 30years, but yet not far from home. this i believe is an advantage in bringing my valuable experience in America to the reality of our country, Nigeria”, he said.
Giving the account of his last ten moths in office, Salim said he hired consultants to evaluate d agency’s structure, organized retreat for staff before embarking in the implementation of the of his agenda for the organization.
“In the last 10months since my assumption of duty, we have interacted extensively with the different categories of stakeholders on how we can collectively take SON to the next level for the overall good of the Nigerian economy and the welfare of its people.
” As part of efforts in this regard, an independent committee of distinguished Nigerians were charged with the responsibility of taking a critical look at our structure, processes, practices and service offerings as well as public perception. This was in order to help us develop a template to address operational, service delivery and staff welfare challenges. to entrench equity and fairness as well as provide greater opportunities for staff to better contribute to the attainment of organisational goals. We have since been implementing many of the recommendations of that committee.
“We are committed to improving on our communication with stakeholders at all levels to get greater buy-in into our programmes and activities that are targeted at customer satisfaction, consumer protection and welfare as well as the positive growth of the nation’s economy.
” We are providing a more conducive atmosphere for our staff to deliver on the mandate of SON and collaborate more with our different stakeholders to improve on the delivery of the dividends of democracy to the Nigerian people.
Already, we are working with the National Assembly to strengthened our quality infrastructure such as equiping regional laboratories to bring our services nearer to the stakeholders and make greater contributions to the diversification of the nation’s economy. The capacity of the National Metrology Institute is already being enhanced with acquisition of new equipment for calibration activities in diverse areas of measurement like flow, volume, among others.
“We are embarking on aggressive marketing of our key service offerings such as: product certification, local and international, internationally accredited laboratory services, internationally recognised management systems training services, internationally accredited management systems certification services among others”.
On curbing the influx and distribution of substandard and fake products, the SON, DG, said, “the issue of curbing the influx and distribution of substandard and life-threatening products is being approached from many dimensions. Some of our staff have undertaken training programmes with the Nigeria Customs Service ( NCS) on the operations of the NICIS ii. We are also in discussion for a full integration into the process for operational access and control of SON regulated imports.
When fully achieved, that will assist us to a very large extent in preventing substandard products from entry into Nigeria without any delay at the ports. This is because, we have invested in facilities near the Apapa, Tin Can and Onne ports where quality verification of suspected substandard products can be carried out.
” We have already initiated engagements with key importers across the country to flush out the bad eggs amongst them and promote self regulation in our collective interest. SON state offices nationwide have been directed to intensify our market survey activities to monitor the performance of locally certified and imported products in the market place,” Salim said.
The workshop which was titled ” Improved Synergy to promote Standardisation ” attracted paper presentations from Director, SON Standards Development, Mrs Chinyere Egwuonwu, Director, SONMSC, Engr. Felix Nyado, Director SON, Laboratory Services, Dr, Barth Ugwu and Ag. Director Inspectorate and Compliance, Mr Mark Darkhling.
Others are, Director, NMI, Engr.Bede Obayi FNSE, HOD, SON Training Services, Engr.Timothy Abner, Deputy Director, PCD (MANCAP), Mrs Tosan Akin-Akosile, HOD, Product Registration, Engr. Joseph Ugbaja and HOD, Consumer Feedback and Collaboration, Mrs Mosun Samuel.