The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has stated that it was working with service providers to deploy technology that would automatically shut down any phone that does not meet the basic quality requirement of the Nigeria Industrial Standard (NIS).
The Director General of SON, Dr. Joesph Odumodu, explained that the agency was in collaboration with the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) to ensure that International Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI) and other marks of quality are used as the yardstick for identification of fakes and therefore employ technology to shut down any phone that does not meet the minimum standard.
Odumodu, during a stakeholders’ forum with phone brand owners tagged: ‘Boosting consumer confidence in Nigeria’s mobile phone markets,’ enumerated the damages which fake phones pose to the citizenry, stressing that Nigerians are exposed to high level of deadly heavy metals, the emission of high level of radiation which cause malignant diseases such as cancers.
He added that the SON would also conduct and publish the list of registered phone brand owners for the mutual benefit of the consumers; mandate every phone brand owner to have coded identity marks for traceability and proper user guide; monitor compliance with these measures and set up time frames for enforcement.
According to him, enforcement would be in the form seizures, evacuation and destruction of phones that fall short of the requirement. At all the entry points in the country, we would set up monitoring desks where we would combat every product that comes in. In his words, “We will ensure that those products that have not been able to provide additional features are removed. Within the next one week, we will be installing a new set of equipment in SON to measure radiation levels not just for the phones but for the other components too. “This meeting is part of our quest to rid the markets of fake and sub-standard phones and accessories which have in recent times reached a worrisome and disturbing level.
“Indeed, the federal government has become increasingly concerned over the high incidence of fake and sub-standard phones in the markets across the country as well as the potential health and safety implications on the economy of the country. “Most times, consumers are constrained by ignorance, poverty and inability to detect counterfeit products. They go ahead to purchase fake products that may be rather harmful to them. Consumers opt for substandard or counterfeit mobile phones because they are cheap and look like the originals, while others may purchase a fake phone because of the relative price difference or preference for the unusual functions a fake phone has, such as dual SIMs or analogue television.
“In addition, there continues to be a dearth of comprehensive information educating consumers’ about the risk of purchasing black market counterfeit mobile phones to discourage such purchases. Lastly, as more countries switch-off counterfeit phones, the people behind this scourge will keep moving countries that are yet to adopt this solution,” he added.
A representative of CPC, Mrs. Umego Adora, who stood in for the Director General, Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Mrs. Dupe Atoki, advised that consumers should always insist on the right products, maintaining that brand owners must be proactive in combating the scourge this unscrupulous activity brings to the economy.
“It affects the citizenry, we are willing and ready to partner SON to fight substandard products to the benefits of Nigerians.” While responding to the Director General’s comment, Prince Clatus of Etus brand of phones, added that the stakeholders forum should not be limited to all stakeholders and therefore called on the citizenry to support SON in eradicating the influx of fake and counterfeit phones in the country.
He said fake and counterfeit phones force good brand owners out of the market leading to huge loss of investments made by brand owners. Mr. Dolapo Ajayi of Solo phones, called for the need of a strengthened collaboration of regulatory agencies to curb the menace of substandard products in the country.
Adetola Oni, a representative of Samsung stated that the menace plaguing the phone market is worrisome pointing out that, Samsung will go all the way to partner SON and other regulatory agencies to tackle the menace headlong.
Credit: ThisDay News