By Matthew Denis
In a bid to ensure quality of products in circulation, the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has sealed seven Tokunbo tyre shops in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
Speaking during an interview with this medium at the weekend, the Coordinator of SON in Kwara State, Engr. Sunday Ishaya Yashim said the exercise is a regular operation by the agency.
“As part of our constant surveillance, we identified shops selling used tyres, otherwise known as Tokunbo tyres and we decided to stop them from selling by sealing them up.
“We sealed up seven shops along the roadside from Maraba area down to Offa Garage axis of Ilorin metropolis and the exercise was successfully executed on Thursday,” he stated.
Yashim stated that the agency is concentrating on tyres for now but will also extend its operation to cable wires soon.
He said, “We have seized cables produced in China but labelled as if they were produced by Nigerian company stored in a warehouse in Lagos and these cable before the operation, part of it has been sold and distributed around the country.
“One of our key roles is to ensure that we mop such cables off the market. So we are going to take it sector by sector but this time, we are focusing on used tyres,” the Coordinator explained.
He stressed that the aim is to eliminate second hand tyres from Nigeria by December this year.
“These Tokunbo tyres pose danger to us, causing so many accidents in the country. You will recall that the former Minister of state for Labour and Productivity, James Ocholi, ASUU delegates, medical doctors all died as a result of accident, which could be linked to bad tyres.
“The Federal Government set up committee to investigate these accident cases and the white paper released by the committee said that Tokunbo tyres are responsible for those accidents in the country.”
The Coordinator, however, rated industries in Kwara State high on level of compliance with SON rules and regulations.
“But the problem we are having is with those products that are being imported into the market especially the used tyres which we are eradicating now. Unfortunately we don’t have any company producing those products in the country.
“Michelin and Donno companies producing qualitative tyres have relocated to Ghana and South Africa respectively because the country was taken over by used tyres and their profit margin was low.
“If we were keeping to this standard we would have been exporting tyres to other countries by now because you can’t even compare the number of vehicles in Ghana to Nigeria considering our population and economic growth.”
He however lamented that Nigerians show sympathy for criminality, saying despite the fact that government have made it clear that Tokunbo tyres are contraband, people still open shops to make brisk business from it.