Thirteen steel factories in Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Abia and Edo states have been shut down by the National Steel Task Force of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) over standard infraction. This was disclosed by the agency after its nationwide market surveillance completed in January 2020.
The task force embarked on the closure after nationwide market surveillance between November 2019 and January 2020, the Chairman of the SON Task Force on Steel, Enebi Onucheyo, said.
Why the shutdown? The affected the steel firms were shut down because they failed to comply with the standard regulation of steel production. It was revealed that the companies were earlier warned when infractions were detected.
They were then directed to ensure compliance with the standard requirements of the Nigeria Industrial Standard (NIS) 117:2004. It was disclosed that during the surveillance exercises, various steel products were taken from the open market.
According to Onucheyo, some steel products were also obtained from the facilities of the companies but most of them failed to meet the minimum requirements for ′diameter′ and ′mass per meter′ as provided in the Nigeria Industrial Standard (117:2004) after laboratory tests and analysis were done on the steel products. Onucheyo said these were critical parameters in the standard for reinforcement bars for concrete.
Note that every locally-manufactured or imported steel bars have unique identification marks for easy traceability, as provided by the Nigeria Industrial Standards. This is because the SON classifies steel bars as life-endangering products.
Tampering with product standard: Some of the companies had reportedly tampered with products in their facilities placed on hold by SON. Also discovered during the sampling was unregistered identification mark on one of the products.
Onucheyo said the clampdown was to ensure customers get value for their money and also prevent substandard and life-endangering products from creeping into the market at a period cases of collapsed buildings are being recorded.