Police have arrested two Chinese nationals, Taolung Shen and Xu Jing Yau, over N5 billion substandard tyre stuffing business in Lagos.
The two were paraded before reporters, last Saturday, following their arrest and sealing of the warehouse where they have allegedly cloned different sizes of tyres under such brand names as Powertrac, Aptany, Harmony, Duraturn, Bearway, City Tour, Winda, Glory, Chachland, City Grand, Grandsonte (Tyre Type) and Sunny (for tricycles), among others.
SON said “many of the tyres arrived Nigeria with tyres stuffed into one another, sometimes as much as five stuffed in one, and had been bent and ruptured on several portions and looking weak and slack.
“But the Chinese adorned the tyre new labels and shinning linings to create impression of being new and healthy.”
Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Director General and Chief Executive, Osita Aboloma who conducted newsmen round the warehouse, at the weekend, described the tyres as “dead on arrival,” and added that “allowing sale of such consignment amounted to surreptitiously taking the lives of millions of Nigerians.”
Aboloma said stuffing tyres, through the long sea journey from China to Lagos, “had already compromised the quality, not to talk of the crude way the tyres were separated on arrival in Nigeria and the poor storage facility, without sufficient aeration in the warehouse.
“SON Directorate of Compliance intercepted one of their trucks on the Highway. You can see the amount of danger that these people are posing to our people and our economy just because they want to make huge profit at the expense of the lives of Nigerians,” Aboloma said. He further explained that “the premises of the company revealed a lot of illicit activities, including re-labelling, high level of stuffing of several tyres into one, tampering with expiry dates and staking the tyres in adverse conditions. “It was a clear case of investing millions in illicit business, to take away the lives of millions of Nigerians. If we should allow something like this, it will amount to killing Nigerians,” Aboloma insisted.
He showed tyres which were post-dated January as manufactured date but which were already in the country at the time of the seizure, despite that it would take months for shipments from China to arrive Nigeria. “I want to reiterate there is no hiding place for those who deal in substandard products as they would be caught and their products confiscated. This is an example,” he said.
Aboloma thanked SON’s directorate of compliance for discovering the warehouse and other well-meaning Nigerians for volunteering information to the agency, saying those arrested in connection with the latest deal would be tried in line with the new SON Act and, if found guilty, prosecuted.