The Iron Rod and Steel Dealers Employers Association Union of Nigeria (IRSDEUN) has applauded the House of Representatives over its move to crack down on the proliferation of substandard steel products leading to incessant building collapses in Nigeria.
The House of Representatives had charged the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to check the proliferation of sub-standard steel production in Nigeria, and to commence massive enforcement of its mandate to prosecute anyone dealing in substandard steel products to face the law as enshrined in section (4) subsection (l) of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Act,2015.
The House further asked the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) to rise to action and ensure elimination of hazardous and substandard steel products from the Nigerian markets, stressing that the increasing rate of building collapse claiming the lives of Nigerians across the country is not unconnected to the circulation of substandard steel products in the country.
The House’s resolution was sequel to the adoption of a motion moved by its member representing Ilorin East/South Federal Constituency, Aluko Ahmed Yinka, which sought the lawmakers’ urgent intervention to curb the proliferation of substandard steel products in Nigeria.
Yinka had moved the motion after ESPY in August reported that the Iron Rod and Steel Dealers Employers Association Union of Nigeria described the use of defective or substandard building materials as the major cause of building collapse cases in the country.
The Union had asserted that nonchalance of the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) led to the collapse of no fewer than 61 buildings, across the 36 states of Nigeria in 2022.
Reacting to the National Assembly’s move to curb the proliferation of substandard steel products in the country after its outcry, IRSDEUN President, Gbenga Awoyale, in a statement issued on Tuesday said the development stands the 10th Assembly out as one truly committed to the greater good and welfare of the people.
According to Awoyale, the proactive approach of the House of Representatives to curb the rising surge of substandard steel products is well acknowledged, saying that the Union as critical stakeholders has been at the forefront of the fight against substandard steel products without necessary governmental support.
The IRSDEUN President however stated that “While the resolve of the House of Representatives to stop the compromising of prosecution of those found culpable in the act of manufacturing substandard steel products through effective enforcement is highly commendable, we are open to collaboration with the 10th NASS for the conduct of a thorough oversight that will rid Nigeria of substandard steel products and guarantee the safety of lives and properties of Nigerians.
“I also wish to call on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to, in the best interest of our dear country, give total support to the noble course the parliament had begun. For a safe construction industry in Nigeria, there is a critical need for thorough cleansing of the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON); the saboteurs in there, who collaborate with the foreign interests majorly culpable of substandard steel production must be weeded out.
“Just last week, substandard steel products worth over a billion Naira were seized in seven different steel rolling mills but because such culprits weren’t prosecuted, they are back in the business of substandard production after paying official fines and getting their ways to boycott prosecution or even scrap and reproduce the products. As I speak. Meanwhile, building collapse is a continuous recurring decimal, two were recorded in the last one month in Benue and Lagos state, respectively. This has to stop.”
Awoyale further said that “These manufacturers had signed indemnity to the effect that whatever quantum of substandard products they are caught to have produced, it would be scrapped to reproduce standard quality. However, the case is not so. These substandard products were loaded for distribution to Nigeria markets right in the presence of SON officials.
“Specifically, the SON officials when alerted to supervise production of steel in Northern Nigeria, they always resist simply because of a former DG of the organization who owns one of the major steel rolling mills in Northern Nigeria. This compromising act is not limited to steel products, virtually all products under SON supervision have been compromised.
“Although, as dealers, we make more money trading in substandard products, but it is ungodly to deliberately distribute harmful products for the consumption of fellow Nigerians. That is why we are making this much sacrifice and willing to make much more.
“Unfortunately, it is Nigerians like us conniving with foreigners to perpetrate this level of economic sabotage. We have been facing threats from these Indian companies and even SON officials but we are unwavering in our resolve to put a stop to production and circulation of substandard steel products in Nigeria. All we need is the political will to sanitize the steel production industry in Nigeria and guarantee a safe construction environment.”
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