The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has sounded a note of warning to Nigerian consumers on the proliferation of substandard lubricants in the country, warning against purchase of a particular brand identified as “Toyota engine oil”.
The agency noted that the brand was among others in the market that had not undergone any offshore conformity assessment and therefore constituted a risk.
The Director, Inspectorate and Compliance Directorate, SON, Engr. Obiora Manafa, at an enforcement exercise in Lagos, said further investigation revealed that the stated brand had no close or remote relationship with the real Toyota Vehicle manufacturing company, advising consumers to always patronise only engine oils certified and registered with the SON.
“It is necessary we raised this red alert for the public to know what we discovered in the market. From our records, this ‘Toyota engine oil’ has not undergone any offshore conformity assessment process which we call SONCAP. It has not undergone the product registration process for traceability and quality verification, and is therefore substandard; we do not encourage anybody to buy it.
“You know we carry out regular market survey activities across the country and we have 42 State offices across the country where we do these market surveys in all the states.
“So, we do not encourage people to patronise these products not certified by SON; they can cause damage to motor vehicle engines, generators and other kinds of machinery. We cannot vouch for engine oils that have not been subjected to standard tests. And when engine oils have not been subjected to tests, they are likely to lack the necessary and required additives, and cause damage to engines”.
He mentioned the required standard for genuine engine oils as NIS 370, adding that efforts were already underway to apprehend the importer behind the fake and substandard lubricant.
“We are appealing to Nigerians not to patronise these products because we cannot vouch for their quality. We are also sending a stern warning to the importers, that if apprehended, the provisions of the SON Act 14 of 2015, would be applied in prosecuting them.
According to him, essential functions of a quality engine oil is to facilitate friction, prevent sludge gathering in the engine as well as reduce leakages.
“We have mobilised our enforcement them to fish out the importer of these products and definitely we will get them. We will also ensure we locate these products wherever they are stocked and confiscate them. Of course, any product we confiscate, we destroy them once they do not meet our required standard tests”, he added.
Manafa advised consumers to always look out for SON logos for locally made engine oils and SON registration numbers on imported engine oils, informing that the agency was working with market associations to ensure that the aforementioned products do not circulate in the nation’s markets.
“Our target is the warehouses where these goods are stocked so that we can evacuate them, because it is from these warehouses that they supply our markets. If we pick two to five cartons, it does not really make much impact, so as much as we are working with the market associations to confiscate the ones in the cartons, we are looking at the source of supply,” he said.
The SON director noted the harsh impact of Covid 19 on the people, adding that it was unthinkable for anybody to further unleash bad products on consumers already struggling to cope in the difficult season.
“The damage of their vehicles will be too much for them to handle and we do not want this to happen. Whether Covid 19 or not, anybody importing these products will be arrested and prosecuted in line with the provisions of the Act,” he maintained.
He also advised importers against bringing in substandard and life threatening products like electric cables, LPG cylinders, tyres and also building materials, advising them to always clear with the SON before bringing in any products.
“We do not disturb the activities of any importer who does the right thing, if you register your products with SON, nobody will disturb you and if you cannot visit our offices, you can reach us on our website www.SON.gov.ng to get any information you need from SON,” he said.
“We have different departments in SON and I would like to mention the laboratory services department which has offices in different parts of the country.
“We have laboratories for food and chemicals located in Ogba and Lekki, Lagos, while textile and leather services are in Kaduna. We have an engineering laboratory in Enugu where we test mechanical materials like steel bars, civil engineering materials such as cement, concrete and the likes, and also for equipment calibration.
“The National Metrology Institute (NMI) in Enugu can do calibration and all these laboratories are open for everybody,” he advised.
Manafa also advised Nigerians to always avail the SON vital information on substandard products, adding that all hands must to be on the desk for the evil of substandard products to be contained in the country.