Home Maritime Digest SON hosts successful sensitization workshop with maritime stakeholders

SON hosts successful sensitization workshop with maritime stakeholders


The recent one-day maritime stakeholder’s sensitization workshop on trade facilitation through SON’s automated services, held at Rock View Hotel Conference Hall Apapa on the 25th of February 2020, has continued to be focal point for daily discussion among maritime stakeholders because of the sensitive issues raised at the forum.
In his opening speech, the DG of SON Barr Osita Aboloma ably represented by Engr Obiora Marafa applauded all the stakeholders for prompt response to the clarion call which is a clear indication of their total commitment to standard. Engr Marafa, the Director, Directorate of Compliance emphasized that the mandate of Agency is to protect Nigerians from sub-standard goods noting that they are hazardous to life.
Furthermore, the DG of SON implored all importers to process SON Conformity Assessment Programmes, (SONCAP) for their products which is the only way to ascertain the originality of such product.
“It is cheaper to do the right thing than complaining, because when the products are confiscated or destroyed you lose everything”.
“To be candid SON is not happy running around anybody, seizing importer’s goods nor destroying goods” he opined.
He cited a case of bad gas cylinders and bad cable wires which he described as time bombs in homes. “No right thinking person will release such products to anybody after testing. Products that can blow or set the house ablaze and kill innocent people,”
More so, the in-depth Director noted that it is far easier for SON to trap all these sub-standard products at the port than when the product leaves the port because the logistics to chase sub-standard products at such time is quite tasking. It is very difficult to locate their destinations, Continuing, Mr Marafa Obiora stated that Act 14, 2015 of SON gives them right to stop, arrest and prosecute hence on intelligent report SON can storm any environment for product verifications.
Engr Manafa revealed that in testing the quality of products a lot is required as how accurate is the measurement/quality (Metrology) and certification of quality that comes with the product (Accreditation). If you have the best product but is not certified in a global accredited laboratory nobody touches the product. “At the moment SON is planning moment Regional Laboratories across the Federation “For easy testing and evaluation”
In another development, Engr Francis Onyeji head of SONCAP mounted the stage and thoroughly explained bit by bit the steps towards obtaining product certification ranging from applying for SONCAP Certificate, to product certification through testing and assessment, product licensing based on detailed evaluation of products testing, factory audit and regular surveillance, etc. Engr Francis Onyeji, pointed out that SONCAP do not cover products like Chemicals, Drugs, Contrabands, etc.
In the same vain Engr Kukah Yaha took time to do justice to the topic of the day which is facilitating trade through SON’s Automated Services for the right standard to be achieved. “Embrace attitudinal change and De-emphasize wealth level for the general good of mankind. Stop the compromise for better Nigeria”
The first of stakeholder to respond was the National Association of Government approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) ably represented by the perspicacious Dr Eugene Nweke, the President Emeritus; He spoke on the use of information technology as a tool for achieving port/Regulatory efficiency with special focus on facilitating trade through standard organization of Nigeria’s automated Services. At the end of his discuss, he reminded SON that they have the impetus to form what is called National Benchmark like other world class nations. He urged the Agency to assert strictness in the discharge of its responsibilities saying that the current standard of enforcement and regulations can still be moved forwrd by the Agency to ensure compliance by importers and manufacturers.
Following behind him was Hon Tony Iju Nwabunike, the President of President of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) who noted that there is need for total Integration with CRFFN. He charged importers who bring in Sub-standard product to wear the coat of integrity and stop endangering lives of the consumers. “If you throw a big stone into the market you might not know who it will hit. Perhaps, it could be your mother, sister or relative” he stated. Continuing, he bemoaned that over time, custom brokers have been victims of substandard importations by importers who in some cases failed to disclose to us the actual content. “Freight Forwarders has lost over 20billion naira in the last ten years due to the influx of fake products that do not meet up with the Nigeria Industrial Standard coming into the country; bad products they never knew about from the onset of clearing”. He informed the audience that they have been doing much in informing the importers on the need to key into standard and due process. “No doubt SON is raising the Nigerian Flag Higher” he noted.
Still standing the ANLCA boss, revealed that in no time ANLCA will set up a sector that will challenge West African custom brokers by taking position of power and straight. Finally, he challenged the SON DG Barr Aboloma to be present whenever important sensitization as this is holding for questions and answers.
During the goodwill messages, Evangelist Paulinus Ugochukwu, the executive chairman of Alaba International Market Electronics Sector and Ichie Fabian Ezeorjika President Alaba Council of Sectors pledged their willingness to comply with SON in their struggle for standard.
Finally Dr Boniface Aniebonam the founder of NAGAFF called for the return of SON to the port due to the sensitive nature of their job. He raised alarm on the influx of substandard products in the market which has taken an arithmetic progression dimension killing Nigerians. ENGR OBIORA MANAFA


Other top dignitaries are Chief Uche Increase, the President of NAGAFF, Issah Suleiman of SON Surveillance department, Prince Ozor Chukwurah, Dr Frank Ukoh and lots of Maritime Journalists.
In his vote of thanks, Director Kabiru appreciated all for attending the workshop. He appealed to the stakeholders to do their best to uphold standard. He apologized for the absence of the DG which he said was not intended. He informed that the stakeholders should look forward to another sensitization workshop as this by next month. Story by Omenihu Alfred (MAJAN MEMBER)