By Seun Ibiyemi, Bukola Olarewaju and Ayo Fadimu
Recently, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) intercepted a container with imported soups (stew) and some other eatable items worth N27, 960,000 from China.
The container, which was cleared from one of the ports in Lagos, was intercepted by the Customs CGC Strike Force team as a result of information provided by the Customs Intelligent Unit (CIU), all of the NCS.
Addressing newsmen in Lagos on Friday while displaying some of the items seized between September 19 and October 18, 2018, Deputy Comptroller and National Coordinator, CGC Strike Force, Abdullahi Kirawa, said the system has degenerated to the level that “Nigerians are now importing stew into the country.”
He lamented that the imported pots of stew and other eatable items, which could not be verified as a result of the Chinese Language written on their packs, could pose serious dangers to the consumers.
According to Abdullahi Kirawa, “how can someone import stew into the country? The stews were carefully concealed inside the container. I will advise that Nigerians should ignore Xenocentrism and embrace ethnocentrism.
“Our quest for foreign goods and items must be discouraged and we must work hard to embrace and patronise home made goods, including our delicious stew that are prepared from our homes, and stop engaging in this type of business.
Kirawa said some other packed items that looked like mushroom were already decaying in the container, saying that showed the dangers it would pose to human health when consumed.
There are so many fake products from China flooding Nigerian markets and one has to be really careful. A good number of Nigerians have fallen victim of fake and substandard products.
Imagine spending your hand earned money on something only for you to open it and realize it is fake.
If there is a ranking for world’s highest market for fake and substandard products, Nigeria would be top on the list.
The National Agency for Food and Drug administration and Control (NAFDAC) also confirmed that most fake and substandard food and drug products imported into the country are sourced from China through which many have lost their lives.
China has been accused of exporting fake, substandard and cancer-causing tomato paste into Nigeria. Their firms were said to be storing “expired” bulk tomato paste in their factories only to mix it with fresh ones for export into Nigerian market.
Left with no choice, Nigerians have become more alarmed than ever before. They are aggrieved on the ills suffered from all Chinese products from edibles and drugs to mobile phone and technological gadgets.
Why will our fate be left to the Chinese? Are we not human beings like them? Have Nigerians become so lazy and dejected to be served with rotten foods, substandard drugs and technological products.
Speaking on this, Director, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr Ambrose Oruche told Nigerian NewsDirect that the problem lies with our citizens.
“The major problem is not with the Chinese but with Nigerians. Why I say so is that, it is Nigerians that go there to demand very inferior products to sell to their country.
“To me, I think Chinese thinking is that “if you do not love your family let me help you to kill them”. It is a mentality that they have about us that’s why you see so many inferior products coming from there”, Oruche explained.
However he called for government’s help to curb these miscreants spreading their wings swiftly over the country and turning it into a dumping ground.
Oruche noted that, government should sanitize the regulatory agencies to ensure that only fit and proper people work there.
He told NewsDirect that the Federal government should reach an an agreement with Chinese government that any product from China that is not fit for consumption should be returned to the company that produced it with severe penalties. This way they will think twice before producing such products for Nigeria.
“Most times I ask myself; do Chinese export any how products to America or Europe?” Oruche questioned.
Making recommendation on the issue, Oruche said, “We should blacklist any product from China and be proud of locally made products.
“Let Nigerian government introduce death penalty for anyone who imports unwholesome products though there is current campaign to abolish death penalties.
“People that import fake products are ritual killers and should be treated as such if caught”, Oruche stated.
Complementing Oruche statement the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) also decried the act of importing substandard product into the nation.
In an early chat with Nigerian NewsDirect he noted that all hands must be on deck to fight this.
According to the Head of Public Relation, SON, Mr Bola Fashina the return of SON to Nigerian Seaport will also ensure the importation of quality phones into Nigerian telecommunications market and as much will give no room for substandard products.
“Our establishment at the seaport will reduce the chasing after defaulters in the market”, he said.
While speaking with NewsDirect, he noted that once the products are out of the port without proper assessment and checking, it results in hunting defaulters down.
“Without our presence at the seaport, inferior products will be smuggled into the market,and that is when we hunt them down at different locations.
“But now, we can get them at the point of entry all at once”, Fashina stated.
Speaking of technological products, Fashina however noted that the larger percentages of technological products are imported.
“It is essential that government sees to the bringing of quality of products into Nigeria”, he said.
Addressing the issue of government responsibility in ensuring technological products are of good quality, Fashina posited that there is need to improve on our infrastructure facilities.
“Government needs to improve our infrastructure facilities. This is because with more facilities in place, Nigeria can boast of good quality product.
However, Fashina said the responsibility does not lie alone on the government; citizens (the consumers) have a role to play also.
According to him, consumers need to patronize made in Nigeria product this will also help to promote them.
“Another way to ensure good quality product is on the part of the people, in that, consumers should learn to patronize indigenous products.
“We all know that Rome was not built in a day.
“Every other nation at some point in time shuts out every other imported products and insist on consuming things made locally in their own countries.
“Today, they are a force to be reckoned with”, Fashina pointed out.
The President of National Association of Telecommu-nications Subscribers (NATCOMS), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo believes the return of SON to the seaports will put a stop to this havoc.
On his part, substandard phones are the ones causing havoc.
“I believe the substandard phones are the ones exploding here and there.
“The return of SON will ensure that our standard and quality are not compromised”, he said.