A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and former commissioner of justice and attorney-general of Plateau State, Prof. Dakas C. J.Dakas, has called on the relevant government agencies to demonstrate courage by prosecuting foreigners who flout the new Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) act prohibiting import and manufacture of substandard products.
Speaking at the SON 2017 management retreat held in Lagos, Dakas said such action would send the right signal to the different quarters as to the federal government’s seriousness to protect its citizens and economy from dubious businessmen.
He said since nobody is above the law, those found to have erred regarding products counterfeiting should be brought to book since Nigerians in other countries are not placed above the law of those countries.
“There are Nigerians all over the world and some of them are in Chinese prisons and elsewhere and here you find that when foreigners are involved, you don’t really accord the necessary investigations and prosecution. In some cases, the sense of urgency required in sending the message to these foreigners that they are not above the law and can trample on Nigerian laws and get away with it is not there,” he said.
Dakas who also served as director of research at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) said the law was indeed a welcome development in the light of the fact that sub-standardisation had become a major problem in the country, adding that it constitutes a great risk to life and economy of Nigeria.
He said with the new SON act, those who fake products would know that it is no longer business as usual as punitive sanctions await them.
He made reference to the recent haul of substandard tyres valued about N5 billion in Lagos saying the damage would have been colossal had SON not intercepted the products.
“So, it is a milestone that the law had been amended. There may however be areas to look into again,” he added.
Dakas also expressed the hope that the National Assembly would continue to work in concert with SON to ensure that the problem of substandard products is effectively contained in the country.
He however bemoaned what he described as politicisation and rivalry going on among the relevant government agencies.
He said collaboration is important for success as no critical agency of the federal government could actually work in isolation.
“So my expectation is that instead of inter-agency rivalry, there should be more inter-agency collaboration. There is a lot of room for everyone and I think it is for all of us to stay in the bigger picture because of the fact that whatever we are doing, we are doing so on behalf of the Nigerian public,” he said.