Communique of North-West Seminar on zero tolerance to substandard products


1. Preamble
A two-day North-West Zonal Sensitization Seminar and Road Show on Zero Tolerance to Substandard Products took place on Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th February 2014 at Giginya Coral Hotel, Sokoto, Sokoto State.

The event organized by Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) in collaboration NGO Network was attended by over 350 participants from the seven states in the North-West zone, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Jigawa , Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara and the major stakeholders including the governments, Para-military agencies, professionals associations, NGOs, etc.

The special guests in attendance included Alh. Umaru Jabbi, Deputy Director, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Sokoto state who represented the Sokoto State Government, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, Director General, SON, Mr. Meshack A. Jatau, representatives of Mr. Osita Chidoka, Corp Marshal Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), Dino O. A., Assistant Controller General of Customs, representative of the Comptroller General of Customs , Mr. Mohammad Idris, State Commander, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr. Ibrahim Mohammad, representative of the Sokoto State Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC), Eng. Mohammad Lawal, Member Secretary, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF); Mr. Malami Nasmi, NAFDAC, Sokoto State; Mallam Mustapha Mohammad, Democratic Action Group, Kano, Mr. Tony Abenelo, Improved and Healthy Living Development Initiative, among many others.

2. Highlights
The highlights of the event were:

i. Special Visit to His Excellency, Dr. Aliyu Magatakarda Wamako, Executive Governor of Sokoto State
ii. Assessment Visit to Sokoto State Office of SON
iii. Seminar and Paper Presentations
iv. Presentation of MANCAP certificates to four organizations
v. Visit to Sultan and Flag-Off of Road Show by the Sultan of Sokoto
vi. Road Show on Zero Tolerance to Substandard Products

3. Paper Presentations:
Three edifying papers were presented by experts in the subjects including:
a. SON Today and Tomorrow under the Law by Barr Umaru Kawu, Director of Legal, SON.
b. Importance of Substandard Goods and Services in the Life of Nigerians by Engr. C.I. Okoro, and
c. The Role of a Well-Equipped Laboratory in the Fight against Substandard Products by Mr. Louis Njoku

4. Observations
After elaborate deliberations on the theme, the participants observed as follow:
I. That most of the products imported into the country are of substandard and they are injurious to our lives, hence the kill us slowly.
II. That much patronage to foreign goods adversely affects made-in-Nigeria goods
III. That it is difficult to completely eradicate smuggling of bad goods into Nigeria due to porous and numerous borders.
IV. That it is collaboration with other stakeholders that can effectively tackle the menace of substandard products.
V. That the awareness program is timely and suitable as it has exposed so much on the rights of the citizens on fight against substandard goods.
VI. That other stakeholders are already adopting standards in their operations to make their roles more acceptable by the people.
VII. That the rewards, awards and recognitions to some organizations for their outstanding performance are innovations to encourage them and to make others follow suit.
VIII. That there are many challenges facing SON in the realization of this noble task of ensuring zero tolerance to substandard products.
IX. That Nigerians patronize substandard products due to poverty.

5. Recommendations
In view of the aforementioned observations, the participants resolved as follows:
I. That the Federal Government through SON should contain and sustain the problems of substandard products
II. That the Federal Government should use bilateral trade to stop the influx of substandard products from the country of export.
III. That Federal Government should mandate SON to be at all entry points to the nation to checkmate import of substandard products.
IV. That there is need for effective collaboration amongst the relevant government agencies and others like SON, NGOs, FRSC, Customs etc. in the area of sanitizing the sectors as the sensitization should be a general concern
V. That SON should be given express powers and supports to continue with the awareness programmes in order to enable people know their rights on substandard products.
VI. That SON should be involved in making other stakeholders realize the fight against substandard products.
VII. That SON should continue to reward compliant groups and organizations to boost their efforts and morale.
VIII. That the challenges facing SON in the realization of her duties should be adequately looked into, such as increase of SON’s statutory allocation by the Federal Government, making special budget for NGOs through SON for this project annually, increase of SON staff, establishment of laboratories in the six geo-political zones and stiffer punishment for culprits
IX. That adequate framework should be put in place to tackle the high poverty rate in the country to aid people in making wise decisions.

6. Conclusion
The participants were grateful with the organizers, SON and NGO Network for the program, and called on NGOs to carry the dividends of the program to the grassroots as a way to sustain the tempo. They also agreed to form a Coalition of stakeholders named Standards Awareness Coalition (SAC) to strengthen the efforts.

1. Mal. Mustapha Muhammed -Democratic Action Group, Kano – Chairman
2. Zaharudeen Abubakar -Himma Farmers Cooperative Association, B/Kebbi
3. Cecilia Eseme -Peoples, Progress and Peace Association, Sokoto
4. Aisha Ahmed Muhammed – Adolescent Health & Information Projects, Dutse
5. Isiyaku R. Darma – Service to Humanity Initiative, Katsina
6. Mal. Abubakar Sadiq – Zamfara network of Agric Development Association
7. Chief Casmiar Obialom -International Peace Foundation, Kaduna – Secretary

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