Househelp Clones Employer’s Credit Card, Buys N328,000 Goods Online

A Tinubu Magistrates’ Court in Lagos on Wednesday remanded a 23-year-old housekeeper, Henry Iruma-Egana, who allegedly stole his employer’s credit card to purchase goods online.

The Magistrate, Mrs F.O. Ikobayo, remanded the housekeeper pending ruling his bail application.

She adjourned the case to November 30 for the ruling.

The accused pleaded not guilty.

The prosecutor, Insp. Richard Odigie, had told the court that the accused cloned Mr. Godwin Okoh’s credit card on November 16 and used it to buy goods worth N 328,000.

He said that the accused used the credit card to pay for a home theatre, laptop and cellphone he purchased on

He said, “Okoh received alert of withdrawal of N187,500, N68,000 and N73,000 respectively on Nov. 16 and 17, and then went to his bank to report the withdrawals.

“The theft was traced to the accused.”

The prosecutor said that the offence contravened Section 285 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

Credit: NAN

90% of Imported Products Not Verified – SON

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria has disclosed that it had no opportunity to verify 90 per cent of the products imported into the country between September and December 2015.

The Acting Director-General, SON, Dr. Paul Angya, disclosed this during a two- day capacity building workshop organised by the SON for media executives in Lagos recently.

Angya said September to December 2015 was a-three-month window that was provided for importers to be able to register on the Nigeria Customs electronic platform, Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System.

He said, “The NICIS platform allowed all stakeholders in the maritime sector to view data on shipment. But because the World Trade Organisation required that we should allow time for importers to register on the NICIS platform, we left a window of three months between September and December and issued them Electronic Provisional Clearance Certificate as an alternative.

“EPCC permitted importers to bring in their goods without the mandatory SON Conformity Assessment Programme certificates.

“But when this window of opportunity was created, criminal-minded importers took advantage of the situation and brought in substandard products which they were able to take out of the Nigerian seaports without the SON’s verification. So, between the periods of September and December 2015, 90 per cent of the goods imported into this country had no SON verification.”

Angya disclosed that after observing how importers had taken advantage of the EPCC platform to bring harmful products into the country, the agency had gone ahead to close it and as a result, the management and staff of SON are now facing threats and blackmail from importers.

“When we tried to communicate this fact, they resorted to blackmail, threatening that if we close down the EPCC platform, they will react. So we shut down the platform in July and directed that whatever they were bringing into Nigeria should go through the SONCAP regime.

“So they have now gone to the Internet to vilify SON. My staff and I have also been threatened by some of them, violently.”

Angya added that the major challenge the agency faced was being able to intercept containers right from the arrival point noting that since 90 per cent of substandard products come into Nigeria through the seaports, the absence of the SON’s agents at the ports had made the job more difficult.

He said since they were not allowed at the ports, they resolved to chase containers on the highway any time they received information that the container carried harmful goods.

“My officers who are all graduates and engineers chase trailers on the highway like touts, risking their lives to jump on trailers to try and catch them,” he stated.

2 Fire Fighters Die, N400m Goods Destroyed In Onitsha Midnight Fire

Tears flowed freely yesterday at the Ochanja ultra modern market, Onitsha as a Sunday midnight fire   ravaged the shoe dealers’ section of the market destroying goods worth over N400million.

Unfortunately, two fire fighters from Okpoko Fire Service Station died while trying to put out the fire even as traders in other sections of the market closed their shops in solidarity yesterday.

Giving an insight into the incident, Chairman of Ochanja Shoe Dealers Association, Chief Nwabueze Umeh told Daily Sun that a mysterious fire started in a shop within the market at 5 p.m. on Sunday but they were able to quench the fire and went back home only to get another news at about 2 a.m. that another fire started in a different section of the market.

He said they immediately contacted men of the Okpoko Fire Station, who quickly mobilised to the scene but while they were at work, a decking slab from the shops caved in and killed one of the fire fighters instantly while the other had his spine broken. He died at the hospital where he was  taken to for treatment. Umeh noted further that the tragedy which befell the fire fighters stalled further efforts to put out the fire leading to the destruction of many shops with goods estimated at N400 million lost to the inferno.

Governor Willie Obiano visited the market yesterday morning and promised to provide fire-fighting equipment to the traders and also assist victims.

Two of the affected traders, Boniface Amaizu from Oraifite and Iloduba John Kennedy told Daily Sun  that they were alerted on phone at about  3 a.m. while they were in the village that Sunday but before they could get to the market by 4a.m, their shops and their entire goods had been consumed by t he fire.

Credit: Sun

Noel Onoja: Tackling Rejection Of Nigerian Products And Exports

Over the past five years, Nigeria has continually ranked behind in the Global Competitiveness Report Index, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Nigeria is ranking 115th out of 144 countries assessed and with about 103 export products and commodities rejected at the international market trailing behind countries like South Africa and Ghana with only 5 and 6 product rejects and countries like Kenya and Cameroon, this is not a good position and perception for a developing economy like Nigeria and it seem to not be improving just yet; within the week, the European Union (EU) gave Nigeria till June 16, 2016 – a deadline to put a management system in place to reduce pesticide contaminated food products being exported to the region or face continued rejection of export.

Most of our finished products have been assumed to be below standards especially at markets fronts like the US, Europe and Japan and that is why most of our local experts have argued against Nigeria going into partnership agreements like the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) because our products might be at a disadvantage as they may not be able to favourably compete, then again we look at our raw produce like sesame seeds and domestic beans which have constantly been rejected due to presence of contaminants like afloxin-pesticide residue, and the same time NAFDAC says it is worried that this same food produce rejected at the international market because of its high pesticide residue are actually what Nigerians consume at home.

The continued rejection is affecting the country’s export earning, over the few years we have witnessed a continuous decline in export earnings, export earnings figure is seriously taking a down turn. In 2011, the export earning was $2.7billion. In 2012, it was $2.5billion (7,4 per cent); 2013, it was $2.97billion (13.7per cent); 2014 figure was $2.71billion (8.62 per cent). In Q1 2014, it was $814million; Q1 2015, it was $652million, representing (19.86per cent). In Q2 2014, it was $664million; Q2 2015, it was $391million (39.25per cent) according to figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and this is a serious trend.

How do we change the trend of rejection met by our locally produced goods and commodity exports in the international market, how do we change the dismal perception about Nigerian products even locally first, how can we improve on our product quality and our product acceptability index internationally from proper documentation to harmonisation of standards and to branding and packaging generally?

First we must be seen to be proactively working, especially in addressing factors like quality of our products, packaging, pricing and promotion, value addition, sanitary conditions, standardisation, compliance with best practice, technology, innovations, research and development.

Secondly we must begin to control and regulate properly, local production, quality control, processing and documentation, for example, systems can be put in place to ensure that before products leave the country’s shores to the international market, the Nigeria Custom Service (NCS) can inquire and make proper test on these products to eliminate the cases of rejects at the market, and before these products even get to the point of export, they should have been adequately certified by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration (NAFDAC), so that exporters who send their products to the market without proper checks and certification from authorities and whose products are rejected are meant to be prosecuted for failing to follow due and diligence check, this is to save the country the continuous embarrassment of rejection.

Thirdly, there should be proper synergy between government agencies in embracing the best approach to quality assurance through the creation of appropriate quality infrastructures, funding for research and development as well as product adaptation to meet international requirement. Recently a committee of agencies involving customs, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), SON, NAFDAC, and others were sent on fact finding mission, on reasons Nigerian exported products have always been rejected and on the heel of that, the NEPC has promised that by 2016 Nigerian products will stop being rejected at the international market, this is worthy of note but we need to concrete actions to that effect.

These agencies should drive more effort towards checking factors that may hinder product acceptability along the line of production, for example, NAFDAC can put a process in place where mobile laboratories can be deployed to farms and markets to check and identify at what points that contaminants find its way into the food, to check what the farmers and sellers are not doing rightly and nip it from that stage, this type of campaign can be further extended to creating directed awareness and workshops for the people growing this foods; in same vein exporters who send products to the market without due checks should be prosecuted alongside proper awareness creation for the producing and consuming populace.

Noel Onoja writes from Abuja