From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Former Director General/Chief Executive of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Dr. Joseph Odumodu, yesterday, said he destroyed goods worth N10 billion in five years to save over one million lives in Nigeria.
Speaking after he was honoured by Concerned Citizens Parliament in Abuja, Odumodu said that if SON had prosecutorial powers at the time he was the DG, he would have sent many people to jail. However, now that the organisation has secured prosecutorial powers, more prominent Nigerians would go to jail this year.
According to him, when he took over as DG of SON, over 85 per cent goods in Nigeria were substandard but by the time he left office, the level of substandard goods had reduced to between 25 per cent and 40 per cent. “When I came, I found out that we have over 85 per cent of substandard products. In fact, most of them came from China. We set out to achieve zero tolerance. I remember when I seized about five million tyres in Ladipo. The people who were in that market told me they used to settle my people, why changing the system, and I said that I have not come for settlement. I came to clean up the country because every kabu-kabu out there is using substandard tyre and how many million Nigerians are using kabu-kabu on a daily basis? We don’t have the statistics to know how many people that are dying, using the wrong products. That is why somebody said when your are pointing at somebody, four are pointing at yourself.
“Everyone of us is tired of this system. You may be the one bringing it from abroad, you are at fault. If you’re the one distributing from abroad, you are at fault. If you are the one buying it, you are also at fault. If they bring these products and we don’t buy them, they won’t bring more. So, all of us are in this together. Everybody must be part of this process.
“If we do it, it will be like countries like UK and other places. They have substandard products but you know the difference, nobody touches their own. And when they make the mistake of buying substandard products, they will take you to court and almost jail you for making them come in contact with the wrong product. That is the kind of thing we must start doing in Nigeria,” he said, regretting that some Nigerians conspired against him and removed SON from the ports, a situation that hampered his performance.
One of the organisers of the award ceremony, Dr. Uche Egenti, said that Odumodu ensured that cement product was of a high standard and this brought the menace of building collapse to a minimal level. He said that people like Odumodu should be in the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to help him in cleaning up the system.