About 16 months after the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) seized over two million sub-standard tyres valued at N5 billion, the agency’s Surveillance, Intelligence and Monitoring operatives have seized over 21 containers of stuffed imported tyres estimated at N1billion.
According to SON, the seized containers had stuffed imported tyres that were being forcefully unstuffed, wrapped and labelled before being dispatched to markets all over the Nation.
The Director General, SON, Osita Aboloma, during an enforcement exercise at the weekend in Lagos said that the agency is empowered to go after any suspected good or inspect premises and factories in its quest to rid the Nigerian market of substandard products.
The SON boss, represented by Deputy Director and Coordinator of its Surveillance Investigation and Monitoring (SIM) Unit, Isa Suleiman disclosed that the 21 containers of imported tyres, had five tyres into one and were discovered and seized at a warehouse in Abule Osun, off the Lagos-Badagry Express Way opposite the International Trade Fair Complex.
The consignments translate to about 100 containers of imported tyres rather than 21 on the import documents, he said.
Suleiman disclosed that the discovery and seizure of the SON regulated products was a result of surveillance and information given to the agency and followed up by the SIM Unit, inaugurated 2 months ago by the Director General.
“We have found out that these unscrupulous people bring in the containers from the seaports, lock themselves in warehouses to forcefully un-stuff the tyres, wrap and label them before loading to markets all over Nigeria”.
According to him, in the processes of forceful stuffing and un-stuffing, the tyres become unusually expanded, others unduly compressed, bending the wires around the helms and creating sharp points that make them vulnerable to bursts on slight contacts having been squeezed and weakened, thus leading to avoidable road accidents and loss of lives.
“These are acts of clear economic sabotage of the Nation through evasion of duties and taxes payable on the imports, an affront on the regulatory regime in Nigeria and danger to the lives of all road users in the country” he said.
Suleiman stated further: ‘’This practice has become commonplace as another container of similarly stuffed tyres were apprehended about the same time at Iddo, in Ebute Meta where they were also being forcefully unstuffed for loading into various trucks on standby”.
He recalled a similar seizure of stuffed tyres by the organization in Lagos in 2017 stating that SON will be unrelenting in going after the agents of death disguised as businessmen in Nigeria.
Those behind the 2017 discovery according to him are being prosecuted by the agency, stressing that same fate await the importers of the new discoveries after investigations are concluded.
“We have discovered some locations in Lagos where these tyres are taken after escaping at the seaports, forcefully unstuffed, wrapped and labelled before being sent to different markets across the country. Consequently, we will continue to search for others through our information network wherever they are to apprehend them”, he said.
According to him, the tyres, though new, are dead on arrival due to forceful stuffing and un-stuffing.
Source: G Business