To tackle this new ruse, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) at the weekend, recorded its major bust of over two million sub-standard tyres valued at N5 billion, which was stored in a warehouse near Navy Town, Satellite, Lagos State.
The SON Director-General and Chief Executive, Osita Aboloma, who conducted journalists round the warehouse, described the tyres as dead-on-arrival, adding that allowing the sale of such consignments will amount to putting at risk the lives of millions of Nigerians.
He said stuffing tyres through the long sea journey from China to Lagos had already compromised the quality, as well as the crude way the tyres were separated on arrival in Nigeria and the poor storage facility, without sufficient aeration in the warehouse.
The two were paraded before newsmen yesterday following their arrest while the warehouse where they had been cloning different sizes of tyres under such brand names like Powertrac, Aptany, Harmony, Duraturn, Bearway, City Tour, Winda, Glory, Chachland, City Grand, Grandsonte and Sunny (for tricycles), was sealed.
Much of the tyres arrived the country with tyres stuffed into one another, sometimes as much as five stuffed into one. They had been bent and ruptured on several portions and looking weak and slack.
But the Chinese nationals adorned the tyre with new labels and shiny linings to create the impression of being new.
According to Aboloma, SON’s Directorate of Compliance intercepted one of their trucks on the highway, tracked it and led the agency to the warehouse. “You can see the amount of danger they are posing to our people and our economy just because they want to make huge profit at the expense of the lives of Nigerians.”
He added that at the warehouse, a lot of illicit activities were exposed, which included re-labeling, high level of stuffing of several tyres into one, tampering with expiry dates and staking the tyres in very adverse conditions.
Head of SON’s Directorate of Compliance, Bede Obayi, showed newsmen tyres in the stock, post-dated January 2017 as date of manufacture, but which were already in the country as at the time of the seizure, despite it taking months for shipments from China to arrive Nigeria.
Aboloma promised to ensure the prosecution of all those found to be involved in the nefarious activity in the interest of the populace and to serve as deterrent to other unscrupulous importers, adulterators and distributors of substandard products.