STANDARDS Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has sealed off warehouses involved in the sharp practice of selling substandard ballpoint pens in Lagos.
The move was sequel to reports and investigations that some companies were in the practice of importing substandard ball point pens, which also did not meet Standards Organisation of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) requirements, as well as, the National Industry Standard (NIS).
SON’s Head of Department Ports & Border Operations, Nelson Adebiyi, who confirmed closure of the warehouses to the media at the weekend, said the facilities remained sealed until after investigations, as the alleged fake products did not have the required import papers.
According to him, after the agency carried out survey and tests, it discovered high number of ballpoint pens in the market were substandard and further investigations revealed that some businessmen had been importing the ballpoint pens and fixing made in Nigeria logo on them.
He also revealed that SON has intensified efforts at enforcement and monitoring by partnering with various market unions on monitoring the activities of substandard products.
He added that the sealedwarehouses are located in Lagos Island main market and that some of the recovered ballpoint pens have been forwarded to SON laboratory for content analysis.
“We were very careful not to spark off avoidable skirmishes or break down of law and order in the volatile area like Lagos Island, which is the reason we cleverly liaised with the market unions. Also we did not want to put our lives on the line,” Adebiyi stated.
Adebiyi added that SON has, on several occasions, sealed off warehouses only to come back to find them unsealed and their contents carted away. Information also revealed that part of the recovered faked ballpoint pens at Lagos Island were bearing the trademark of a China stationary manufacturer, Beifa Group Co. Limited.
Ballpoint pens under the Nigeria Customs Service prohibited list comes in number 24 of the list with H.S. Code 9608.1000 for products banned from importation.
The aim of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) is to identify goods, which pose the highest risk to consumers and ensure that the claims of safety are verified before they are imported.