The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has raided Dei-Dei Building Materials Market in Abuja and confiscated iron steel worth N50 million.
In the enforcement exercise led by the Regional Coordinator, North Central, SON, Mr. Nelson Adebiyi, some steel materials alleged to have failed laboratory test were confiscated. The agency also carted away 90 pieces of steel for further investigation while the remaining was put on hold and embargo.
Adebiyi told journalists that the exercise was to achieve achieving the agency target of ridding the Nigerian markets of fake and substandard products. He explained that the agency had conducted its surveillance checks on Kendo Builders Limited, the seller of the sub-standard 12 mm and 8mm rods before the raid.
“The enforcement was based on a market survey carried out earlier in the market by SON, which revealed that there are some sub-standard iron rods being sold by traders, which we need to evacuate from the market.”
He said the agency had noted all the complaints of the traders and that it would address some of the issues raised by them adequately with a view to ridding the market of sub-standard goods.
According to him, even though SON has achieved 40 per cent reduction in sub-standard products in the country, the agency’s target is to record 80 per cent reduction.
The officials did not have an easy ride as the traders put up serious resistance, claiming that they were unduly being used as guinea pigs while the big factories manufacturing the iron rods were left untouched.
A trader, who preferred anonymity, challenged the agency to go after Universal Steel Company Limited, a Lagos-based steel manufacturing company, the maker of the Y-mm steel rods, instead of disturbing traders who were merely doing their businesses.
He said: “The kind of harassment traders in this market suffer in the hands of the officials of SON is uncalled for. We are only traders trying to make ends meets. If any of our items is said to be substandard, why not go after the manufacturers who are duly registered with the agency?
“In the case of Y-MM 8, the product is manufactured by a Lagos-based steel company, Universal Company Limited. Let the agency begin their enforcement exercise from there instead of disturbing us at every slightest opportunity”, he added.
The Chairman Building Materials Dealers Association, Dei-Dei, Mr. Anthony Chukwuneke, also challenged the agency to go beyond the market if it was serious to rid the country of substandard goods.
“If there was the prevalence of substandard products in the markets as the officials had alleged, then SON should be an accomplice as it is expected to have representatives in each of the factories to enforce standards,” he stated.