Paschal Emeka, Abuja
The House of Representatives on Wednesday, June 29, 2022, raised alarm over proliferation of fake products in the Nigerian markets, noting that over the years, the country has become a major dumping ground for fake and substandard products.
Hon. Jimoh Abdul Raheem Olajide, in a motion of urgent public importance during plenary decried that the proliferation has led to sicknesses and eventual deaths of unsuspecting Nigerians.
He also noted that fake products include unauthorized or illegally manufactured, reproduced and altered products associated with abuse of recognized intellectual property rights, such as trademark, design or copyright for various products including currencies, clothing, electronics, automotive parts, building materials, medical supplies, foods, drinks and chemicals, among others.
Furthermore, he disclosed that on November 24, 2021, it was reported in the media that the Senate had initiated a bill to prohibit the importation of fake goods in Nigeria
According to him, an online platform called Chekkit recently outlined ten most commonly known counterfeit products in the Nigerian market including packaged foods, pharmaceuticals, footwear, clothing, leather goods, automotive parts, optical media (CDs & DVDs), cosmetics, alcohol and jewelry.
He reported that between July and August 2021, the Nigeria Customs Service was reported to have seized fake and contraband goods worth N120 million.
The lawmaker expressed concern that the actions of dealers in fake products have sent most Nigerians to early graves while other victims have ended up with serious health complications including mental and physical disabilities.
Hon. Olajide observed that Nigeria has no specific anti-counterfeit law that is robust to cover all types of goods and species of anti-counterfeit; hence, the fight against counterfeits involves the creative application of the various laws that affect rights holders in one way or the other, which include the Copyrights Act, the Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, the Customs and Excise Management Act and the Cybercrime (Prohibit, Prevention) Act, among others.
He was concerned that despite efforts by government agencies such as the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Nigeria Customs Service, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), among others, to combat the menace, the Nigerian market is still flooded with different harmful products.
He believed that urgent legislative action will go a long way in reducing or eradicating the menace of fake products in Nigeria.
Consequently, the House resolved to urge the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the Nigeria Customs Service, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) to simplify the process of laying complaints on suspected producers and importers of fake products as well as provide an enhanced enforcement capacity to combat the menace.
The House also mandated the Committees on Drugs and Narcotics, Industry, Customs and Excise and Ports and Harbours to, as a matter of urgency, liaise with relevant stakeholders with a view to finding lasting solutions to the menace of fake products in Nigeria.
In a related development, the House of Representatives has urged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide relief materials and medical attention to the victims of flooding in Odo-Ona, Eleyele, Gege, Oluyole Estate and Akuro Communities in Ibadan North West/South West Federal Constituency of Oyo State and also urged the Ecological Fund Office to take practical measures towards forestalling future occurrences of flood disaster in the area.
In a motion of urgent public importance, Hon. Adedeji Stanley Olajide regretted that recently, Odo-Ona, Eleyele, Gege, Oluyole Estate and Akuro Communities in Ibadan North West/South West Federal Constituency of Oyo State were ravaged by flooding leading to the destruction of properties, displacement of residents and loss of livelihoods as day to day businesses have been adversely affected.
He said the affected people have moved the few belongings that they were able to salvage from the floods to higher ground in the hope that the waters will not rise further, adding that the residents of the affected communities are living in palpable fear of being permanently displaced by the raging floods as well as the attendant destruction of properties and outbreak of diseases even as they are currently facing untold hardship in the aftermath of the flooding
He warned that if urgent action is not taken to immediately address the flooding situation in Odo-Ona, Eleyele, Gege, Oluyole Estate and Akuro communities in Ibadan North West/South West Federal Constituency of Oyo State, the communities could be completely wiped out leaving them without a place to call their own.