By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
Importation and production of fake goods will not end in Nigeria until the importers, manufacturers and clearing agents choose to be sincere in their dealings, the President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike has posited.
He also asserted that a situation where offenders are treated with kid gloves and the matter swept under the carpet will continue to worsen the situation.
Nwabunike therefore, urged all Nigerians to support the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in the task of riding the country of fake and substandard goods.
Speaking at a parley with members of Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) in Lagos, Nwabunike said critical stakeholders in the maritime sector should imbibe sincerity in their dealings and be truthful when declaring imported goods at the border posts.
Further, he appealed to importers of fake goods to change their attitude towards money, adding that they would not know if the fake goods they imported in order to amaze wealth will eventually end in the homes of their relations.
His words, ” I was sceptical about the activities of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), until I visited them recently. Nigerians must learn to do things right, because a man who imports and bring in fake tyres does not know who is going to buy them. Apparently, it might be his relatives, friends or even himself that will buy the fake tyre. First, we must change our attitude towards money.
“SON, from the time of Ajanta till now, has been going through transformation. Here is another vibrant man which I think the only problem is having is not letting people know what they are doing.
“They are doing a lot because what he showed us when we visited was very enormous. Some have reported to me that their items were seized, but you will discover that they don’t only use fake SONCAP but bringing in goods that are not acceptable into Nigeria, thinking that they will get away with and SON is saying don’t do that.
“I think we should join hands together with them to actualize their goals of sanitizing and removing fake products in this country. Nigeria should know that anything fake kills and its not going to be acceptable”.
The ANLCA boss specifically took a swipe on some manufacturers of local iron rod, disclosing that they usually present original rods to SON officials while on inspection at their factories, only to manufacture fake ones at night for sale to the public.
” SON is an important stakeholder in the area of import and export processes. I understand now that rod manufacturers show the original ones to SON whenever they visit their factories but they will manufacture fake ones at night and SON has taken it upon itself to visit the market to fish out these fake ones because they must put their names on their products. And if SON takes it for test and it fails, they will close up such factory.
“For example, I never knew that borderline consignments; sometime you may say what concerns SON with water but SON is saying the packages used in making it because the packages may be having a terrible chemical that can contaminate the water. SON is concerned about packaging too and if you look at them, they have their logo.”
These are the areas we do not know before now and we want to begin to help them sensitise our clients in a way of doing the right thing. It is a war that all of us will fight together with SON”, Nwabunike emphasized.
He hinted that his Association is prepared to partner SON in sanitising the country of fake goods and effective prosecution of offenders.
The ANCLA boss also urged clearing agents to always expose dishonest importers who usually make false declaration of goods imported.
” This time around, we are going to have a total relationship with SON and prosecute anyone of such persons. Let me tell you, an agent does not know what an importer is having. It is at the point of bill of lading where you told me that this container is carrying this.
As am sitting here if my manager called to ask an importer if what he has imported is a steel door or a wooden door and he said it was a wooden door and I asked further, if it was an armoured door or non armoured door and he said it was non armoured door.
So, we are going to do the examination based on what the bill of lading has said and if by any means there is an armoured door there, is that the agent’s problem?
I will report it accordingly and that is what we are trying to do, we don’t want to hide in any corner, that is why I said all of us must fight together for this course.
For instance if an importer brings in a harmful product for babies and your cousin or relatives children uses such, and the child dies. It would have been better if SON is aware to prevent such evil occurrence.
If someone gives you a bill of lading of spare parts and found out it is tramadol, why can’t you report because it is something that is going to be dangerous to everybody’s life.
So, what we are trying to do is to begin to sensitise them that there must be prosecution. Every import guideline of SON has clause of prosecuting offenders who defaults”.