The Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) in its continued fight to rid the markets of fake and adulterated products yesterday raided some manufacturing companies allegedly producing substandard products in the commercial city of Onitsha and its environs.
The raid led to the arrest of the Managing Director of Benducco International Agency Limited and D and K Golding City Investment Limited, Mr. Benjamin Nwizu, and his Chinese staff, Mr. Ning Tiadong.
SON officials in collaboration with soldiers, the Police, Department of State Services, Civil Defence and FRSC stormed the companies around 11.00am while the workers were busy on their desks.
At Benduco International Agency, the Managing Director, Nwizu, climbed the roof of the two-storey building on sighting the security operatives with plans to jump into the next compound and escape but had to come down when the soldiers threatened to bring him down by force.
Hundreds of workers, mainly girls between the ages of 18 and 20, ran in different directions as the security operatives drove into the compound in a commando-like style.
However, some people, who claimed to be in the company for other businesses at the time of the raid, as well as the workers, were allowed to go after questioning and assisting in loading the fake products into the trucks brought by SON for evacuation.
Products allegedly being adulterated by the companies included tooth brushes, shaving sticks, labels of other products brands, including Life Beer, Panadol, among others.
Addressing journalists, SON Director of Operations, Mr. Felix Nyado, who led the operation, said the organisation several moves for the company to adhere to the standards fell on deaf ears.
“The manufacturing outfit specialises in producing counterfeit tooth brush handle. The handle of the product is expected to be made, by standard prescription, with virgin raw materials, but he uses plastic scraps.
“The Act establishing SON allows us to advise companies to adhere to standard specifications but if a company consistently violates advice, the organisation has the authority to stop the circulation of the product.
“We have evacuated the fake products found here and sealed up the place to stop further manufacturing of substandard products.
“SON visited the company in 2014 and wrote an interim report about the products and all efforts to get the owner of the company to comply with the standards were met with resistance”, he said.
Nyado added, “He is here claiming that he had a court order to restrain SON from stopping him, but no court can grant any company an order to continue to manufacture substandard products and stopping SON from carrying out its statutory duties.
“The regulatory body is not doing the job for itself as its concern is to protect the life and safety of citizens and ensure that businesses are conducted in the right way.
“And if a company decides not to conduct its affairs within the regulatory framework of the authorities, then the owner should go to another country to operate. As it is, this company is under investigation and we want to know what is giving him the audacity to challenge a regulatory agency.”
He further described Nwizu as a serial liar saying that all his claims were false.
“All that Nwizu had claimed is false. SON was never in court with Nwizu’s company and I don’t think any court will restrict a regulatory body from performing its functions.
“The National Assembly cannot stop us from doing our work. This company is faking and producing substandard products and we say they cannot do that because the health of the people is being endangered”, he said.