‘Why government should prosecute importers of sub-standard products’
A former Commissioner of Justice and Attorney-General of Plateau State, Prof. Dakas C. J.Dakas, has called on the relevant government agencies to demonstrate courage in prosecuting foreigners who breached the law.
According to him, prosecuting law offenders would send the right signal to the different quarters on the seriousness of government to protect its citizens and economy from dubious businessmen.
Speaking on the issues bordering on importation of substandard tyres by some Chinese nationals, Dakas, who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) noted that the accused have derailed from the provisions of the new Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Act prohibiting import and manufacture of substandard products.
He said since nobody is above the law, those found to have erred regarding products counterfeiting should be brought to book since Nigerians in other countries are not placed above the law of those countries.
“There are Nigerians all over the world and some of them are in Chinese prisons and elsewhere and here you find that when foreigners are involved, you don’t really accord the necessary investigations and prosecution. In some cases, the sense of urgency required in sending the message to these foreigners that they are not above the law and can trample on Nigerian laws and get away with it is not there,” he said.
Dakas who was also served as director of research at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) said the law was indeed a welcome development in the light of the fact that sub-standardisation had become a major problem in the country, adding that it constitutes a great risk to life and economy of Nigeria.
He said with the new SON act, that those who fake products would know that it was no longer business as usual, as punitive sanctions awaited them.
He made reference to the recent haul of substandard tyres valued at about N5billion in Lagos, saying the damage would have been colossal had SON not intercepted the products.
“So, it is a milestone that the law had been amended. There may however be areas to look into again,” he added.
Dakas also expressed the hope that the National Assembly would continue to work in concert with the SON to ensuring that the problem of substandard products was effectively contained in the country.
He however bemoaned what he described as politicisation and rivalry going amongst the agencies rather than collaboration.
He said collaboration is important for success as no critical agency of the federal government could actually work in isolation.
SON’s Director-General and Chief Executive, Osita Aboloma had disclosed that the agency has uncovered a dangerous trend by some tyre importers and dealers tampering with the date of manufacture to deceive consumers.
The SON boss said that dates of manufacture unscripted on tyres were being altered to deceive consumers that the tyres have longer life span with a view to making excessive profits, thereby putting the lives of users in danger.
He advised Nigerians to pay greater attention to the inscription of dates of manufacture on tyres to be able to discover those that may have been altered and report such to SON promptly. The dates according to him are usually in four numerical digits indicating month and year of manufacture.
Aboloma promised to ensure the prosecution of all those found to be involved in the nefarious activity in the interest of the populace and to serve as deterrent to other unscrupulous importers, adulterators and distributors of substandard products generally.