The Standards Organisation of Nigeria has embarked on a nationwide mopping up of substandard tyres with the aim of destroying them in an operation it code named, ‘Operation Gbale’.
The Director, Inspectorate and Enforcement, SON, Mr. Bede Obayi, disclosed this to journalists on Friday during the destruction of over N5bn worth of seized tyres, which were kept in the agency’s warehouse in Lagos.
Obayi said that SON had been carrying out sensitisation campaigns aimed at educating buyers about the dangers of patronising fake tyre distributors.
He stated that in a bid to ensure that the tyres would not find their way back into the market, the agency had acquired a sophisticated and rugged equipment that could destroy the tyres without causing harm to the environment.
He said, “This nationwide campaign is meant to discourage people from selling and buying these tyres because they are dangerous. These tyres are mopped up at various locations in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
“They are being mopped up from those who are packing tyres in three-in-one, four-in-one to save cost. By the time you bring these tyres in such shapes, you have destroyed the tyres, even if you have the SONCAP, which Nigeria has approved as a clearing document for products that are coming into this country; the certificate has already been invalidated.”
According to him, millions of seized tyres are in the agency’s warehouse because it is not easy to destroy them.
Obayi added, “If we throw them into the sea, these tyres cannot melt, they will just remain there and constitute aquatic problems, and that is why we have mopped them up and are keeping them to destroy them appropriately.
“When they are burnt, they can equally cause environmental pollution and that is why we have acquired rugged machines that can destroy these tyres in such a way that nobody can put them back into use.”
He said the perpetrators were in the habit of scrapping off the expiry dates on the tyres and changing them with new and recent dates to deceive consumers.
Fairly used tyres, according to him, are usually picked from the garbage dumps overseas and repackaged for sale to unsuspecting Nigerians, adding that the harsh weather condition in places where they were picked from and their condition made them unfit to be used along the highways in the country.
On how consumers can detect substandard tyres, Obayi said, “The obvious way to know a substandard tyre is by using the date of manufacture. The Department of Transport of America gave that date and so it is adopted as the appropriate symbol; that is why it is DOT so you don’t see it as DOM.
“After it, you will see four figures inside a circle. That four figures will tell you the week of manufacture and the year of manufacture of the tyre. So when you see 37/14, it means the 37th week of 2014. If you add four years to 2014, you are coming to 2018. It means that the tyre is almost finishing its shelf life. If you use it again, the manufacturer has told you that anything can happen.”
Meanwhile, the Director-General, SON, Mr. Osita Aboloma, has urged operators of Small and Medium Enterprises and agro-allied businesses to comply with the ISO standards or their businesses will be doomed.
Aboloma, represented by the Regional Coordinator, South-South, Mr. Papanye Don-Pedro, stated this during a one-day sensitisation workshop on compliance with international standards for SMEs and agro-allied enterprises.
The workshop ended in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, on Thursday.
The director-general said there was the need to help SMEs and agro-allied businesses to enhance efficiency and increase their productivity.
The workshop was organised to sensitise participants to the ISO 9001:2015 generic standards.
Aboloma stated that with the enormous potential in the agro-allied industry and with the diversification agenda of the Federal Government, it was imperative to sensitise SME entrepreneurs to the fundamentals of the International Organisation for Standardisation’s ISO 9001:2015 model.