SON slams Samsung over infractions
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has closed down the Lagos office of Samsung Electronics West Africa over alleged non-compliance to its host country’s regulatory and standard procedures in product quality and standardisation.
Director-General, Mr. Osita Abuloma accused the South Korea original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of failing to register its products with the agency after several letters and reminders to that effect but rather continued to import products into the country from their parent company in South Korea.
Osita said it was illegal for any company or individual no matter how highly placed, to import products and goods into the country without registering same with SON to ascertain the quality and performance standards before exposing the public to the product.
In a swift reaction, Samsung Electronics West Africa confirmed the development blaming it on break down in communications between the standards regulatory agency and the OEM.
“We want to confirm that the office of Samsung Electronics West Africa in Lagos was yesterday besieged by SON. SON’s action was apparently due to a miscommunication between both parties regarding the registration of products in Nigeria. Samsung is working in collaboration with SON to reach an amicable resolution of the matter.
“Samsung also wishes to reiterate that it is a best practice company, with footprints in over 79 countries worldwide. As an ethical company, Samsung will not willfully disrespect the laws and regulations in countries where it operates,” the tech giant explained in an emailed report.
Osita said the risk of Samsung’s not registering its products with the agency was that it could not ascertain the integrity of its products, lamenting that it may expose the public to unforseeable risk.
“For any imported product to have access to the Nigerian market, it must be registered by SON and certified safe for the public. Part of our mandate is to ensure that consumers have satisfaction while ensuring that monies spent to purchase any product is well spent. The days of using the country as a dumping ground for all manner of products are gone and with enabling SON Act 2014 we are empowered to enter into any premise that is suspect to lock it up and prosecute offenders,” Osita said.
Represented by SON’s Director, Product Registration, Mr. Enebi Shaibu Onucheyo, the Director-General stressed that no company or individual is above the law and warned that SON will not hesitate to allow the full wrath of the law to fall on anybody or group that run foul of the law. He said the Samsung will remain sealed until it complies with the necessary provisions of the law. He lamented that the company is feigning ignorance of the law after being in the country for over two decades and insisted ignorance is not an excuse.
He warned that SON has put all necessary strategy in place to apprehend others who import and distribute their products into the nation’s market through different channels without clearing the quality and standards with SON.
According to him the agency will set an example with Samsung to get others in their category who thinks they can act outside the law and get away with it to fall into line. He stressed that SON is out to safeguard the lives of the citizenry.
However, an officer with Samsung who pleaded anonymity denied culpability. Rather, he stated that the firm had advised its distributors to register their products with SON and regretted that they have not done so.
He said the distributors have warehouses while Samsung doesn’t have. “We do not import products but our distributors do,” he said.