Mr. Yakubu Dauda, SON Director Standards Development (facing camera) addressing the Press at the Apo Tyre Market during the exercise.
SON battles marketers of substandard tyres at Apo
By Valentine Amanze
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has sealed no fewer than 30 shops containing suspected substandard and compromised new tyres at the Apo Tyre Market Abuja.
In a statement issued Maji Aileku, the Head, Media, SON’s enforcement officers executed the task with the support of the Security Joint Task Force early Tuesday, while the traders were settling down to the business amidst subdued protests and pleadings with the leaders of the SON and the security teams.
According to the statement, the entire area of the market was cordoned off by security operatives providing cover while the SON Enforcement Officers combed the market for supposedly new but already compromised tyres, wrapped for sale to unsuspecting consumers and motorists.
Three truckloads of the suspected substandard tyres were driven away by the SON Enforcement Team, with a message to the Market Leaders to direct their appeals and complaints to the SON Management.
Several of the traders were heard asking why the tyres were not apprehended at the points of entry while others wondered why new tyres produced in 2021 and 2022 could be said to be substandard.
After the exercise, the leader of the SON Team, Mr Dauda Yakubu, director, Standards Development, said that the action was predicated on detailed information on the prevalence of supposedly new but already compromised tyres in the market.
He explained that the exercise was in execution of the organisation’s powers as provided in the SON Act No. 14 of 2015 to remove suspected substandard products from circulation, investigate the source and prosecute standards infractions.
Yakubu, however, disclosed that SON’s previous effort to remove the suspected substandard tyres from circulation in November 2021 ahead of the yuletide celebrations was violently resisted by the traders, with injuries to some of its staff and damage to many of its operational vehicles and hired trucks.
The past experience, he said, necessitated SON’s request to the Security Joint Task Force to protect Nigerian consumers from the imminent dangers from the continuous circulation and sales of the suspected substandard tyres.
His words: “It was also in fulfilment of the promise by the SON Director-General, Mallam Farouk Salim, to leave no stone unturned in protecting Nigerians by removing substandard products from circulation wherever they are found.”
He lamented that many automobile accidents had been caused by supposedly new tyres that bust on motion, stressing that, “Such tyres may have been compromised in the course of importation and or smuggling into the country through the stuffing of four of five into one to evade payment of appropriate duties and taxes to government.”
While displaying several samples of the seized tyres with signs of squeezed and rough edges, Yakubu said that was due to the application of force during the stuffing and un-stuffing of the tyres.
He warned that such tyres pose a grave danger to motorists and passengers, stressing that they have led to avoidable accidents, injuries and loss of lives of many Nigerians.
The SON Director, Standards Development, however, admonished motorists and consumers to pay closer attention to tyres before purchase by looking out for rough edges as signs of forceful stuffing and un-stuffing, change of week and year of manufacture as well as rough drills and paintings on the surface of the tyres.