By Miriam Humbe
At the second largest phone market in Nigeria located at Beirut Road, Kano, the Surveillance, Investigation and Monitoring (SIM) Unit of the Standards Organization of Nigeria, (SON), team led by the Coordinator, Mr. Isa Suleiman, sealed up six shops identified to be selling suspected substandard, counterfeit and unregistered cell phones and evacuated the products for further laboratory tests and analysis.
Some of the phone brands identified to be unregistered, possibly sub-standard and counterfeit and thus evacuated from the shops were Infemix, TKK, Siccoo, Hom, and H-Mobile etc.
The SON SIM team also spread its dragnet to the Emeka Offor Plaza at the Onitsha main market where it sealed up several shops dealing in suspected substandard and cloned phones, evacuating same for further tests and analysis.
Mr. Suleiman disclosed that all consignment of phones to be imported into Nigeria must mandatorily undergo the processes of SON off-shore conformity assessment (SONCAP) and the electronic product registration schemes.
These according to him was to avoid flooding the country with low quality or cloned phones that defy traceability and after-sales customer care of any known importer, manufacturer or brand owner.
The activities of the importers and dealers in non-certified and unregistered phones were creating huge loss of resources to Consumers due to malfunctioning and lack of durability of the products which eventually constitute environmental hazards as wastes, he said.
He therefore advised all phone dealers to always demand evidence of SONCAP Certification and the electronic Product Registration from importers, distributors or brand/franchise owners to avoid SON’s clamp down.
In his words “Products like GSM phones need to also be tested for radiation to ensure they meet acceptable levels stipulated by the standards”.
The SON, Surveillance, Investigation and Monitoring (SIM) unit is a rapid intervention team inaugurated by the SON Chief Executive, Osita Aboloma recently to complement other departments in the on-going war against substandard goods in the country to rid the nation of low quality and life endangering products.
Also, in a renewed effort to stamp out substandard products across the country, Standards Organization of Nigeria’s Surveillance, Intelligence and Monitoring (SIM) Unit swooped on various warehouses in Kano stocked with suspected substandard African prints popularly known as “Ankara.”
The team with a detachment of security agents sealed 21 warehouses stocked with textile materials worth hundreds of millions of naira, putting them on hold until all relevant laboratory tests are concluded and analyzed to confirm the quality.
Speaking to newsmen after the raid, the Coordinator stated that the owners of the warehouses were flouting the law by stocking suspected substandard African prints that do not meet with the requirements of the relevant Nigeria Industrial Standards (NIS).
The standard he said, stipulates that African prints should be made of 100 percent cotton and must not be colour fast amongst other relevant attributes.
According to him, initial surveillance revealed that the textiles being sold as African prints were materials suspected to have been manufactured with up to about 70 percent polyester and about 30 percent cotton, some of which were suspected to be completely polyester which is at variance with the specifications of the Nigeria Industrial Standards.