By Desmond Ejibas
Port Harcourt, – The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) says it is worried over the illegal importation of fake and substandard goods by suspected smugglers into the country.
Malam Farouk Salim, the SON Director-General, expressed the concern at his meeting with Heads of security agencies in Onne Port, Rivers, on Tuesday.
He said the National Assembly should come up with stiffer punishment for illicit importers who smuggle fake and substandard goods into the country.
He said “Smuggling fake and substandard goods into the country is the biggest threat to our national security.
“The more substandard goods come into the country, the fewer our industries will produce and employ our children – resulting in less tax and revenue for the government.
“We feel that after seven years, the Standard Organisation Act 2015 needs to be rejigged and improved, considering that N1 million in 2015 is not the same value today.
Salim said the organisation would soon approach the National Assembly to seek amendment to the law guiding the organisation.
“So, we are going to ask for stiffer punishment in terms of mandatory jail sentences for individuals and their collaborators who import substandard and life endangering goods into Nigeria.
“I want to impress it on the lawmakers to realise that importation of substandard goods into the country is an act of economic sabotage against the nation’s economy.
“We are fighting the importation of substandard goods as a government because we want to save our country and the lives of our people,” he added.
He said investigation showed that some of the importers of substandard goods use the proceeds from their imports to finance separatist agitations, banditry and terrorism in the country.
Salim commended the Nigeria Customs Service (NCoS) and other sister agencies operating at the Onne Port for cooperating with SON to rid the nation of fake and substandard products.
“We have successfully intercepted a lot of substandard goods because of the full cooperation we are getting in this area. But we want more,” he appealed.
Speaking, the Customs Controller of, Area II Command, Onne Port, Comptroller Auwal Mohammed, assured the commitment of NCoS to further collaborate with SON to tackle the influx of substandard goods into the country.
According to him, the custom’s collaboration with SON had led to several seizures of fake and substandard goods in the port.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Salim also visited and inspected the quality of gas produced at Greenville Liquefied Natural Gas Company in Rumuji, Rivers. (NAN)