Surge of substandard products infiltrating Nigerian Market


The Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) is a body saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that products used in manufacturing within the country and products imported into the country meet global quality standards. This is to safeguard the health and safety of the citizens of the country.



The SON was established by Act No. 56 of 1971 and subsequent amendments. Its functions include the preparation of standards relating to products, measurements, materials, processes, certification of industrial products made in Nigeria or imported into Nigeria. It was charged with the certification of industrial goods, to help in producing quality goods and circulation of quality standards of products. The organization works in tandem with its foreign counterparts to ensure that the menace of fake and substandard products circulating is reduced to the barest minimum.


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The duties of the SON are a very expansive one that requires meticulousness and attention to detail. SON has four laboratories nationwide to examine all the qualities of all the goods coming into Nigeria; two in Lagos, one in Enugu and one in Kaduna. The law requires that all manufactured goods in Nigeria should have a SON registration number or certificate; products may have on e-registration numbers. This shows consumers that the product meets certified standards and is safe for use.


The battle of the organization against the menace of substandard products is a never-ending one. Poor funding from the government continues to weaken the ability of the agency to perform their responsibilities. There is nothing wrong with each state of the federation having a SON laboratory and enough man power to ensure that quality standard of products for consumers is maintained.


“Substandard products can contribute to antimicrobial resistance and drug-resistant infections. Examples include medications with incorrect dosages or impurities. Often produced in poor conditions by unqualified personnel”


Nigeria is currently in the throes of a recession that has crippled a lot of business activities. This is certainly the time when SON has to be more proactive than ever as there may be an increase in the influx of substandard goods into the country and their cheap prices. Unfortunately for the manufacturing sector too, the influx of foreign and substandard products into the country has also crippled their activities.


Recently, a former Acting Director General of the SON, Dr. Paul Angya, has expressed the readiness of the agency to put a permanent solution to this influx. He said this at the capacity building event at Lagos organized for the Commerce and Industry Correspondents and media executives and Business Editors of various media organization. Furthermore, he acknowledged that illegal borders and unapproved entry points into the country are also factors that aid this influx and expressed readiness to close them down.


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Furthermore, the former SON boss plans to assist in quality checks of agricultural produce that are meant for export. The reason is because there is no alternative to standards as quality standards will aid the process of sale to other countries, most especially the Western world. SON is to ensure that these produce are properly processed.



There is a need for constant sensitization of people, most especially retailers and random checks on goods as well. The SON’s presence at our sea ports should be revisited as it is easier to stop the influx of these substandard goods from the entry points than to battle them later when they have been distributed.



The SON needs highly trained personnel as activities of those involved in substandard products are becoming more technical. The establishment more laboratories to reduce the work load on existing ones as this will enable effective and faster testing of goods as a shorter period.


With the recent federal government’s authorization to SON to imprison dealers who sell substandard products, the move has given a new bite to the organization’s activities to arrest and prosecute offenders without delay. Taking advantage of this law will also serve as a deterrent to others who decide to endanger the health of the citizens.

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