The House of Representatives has passed a Bill which seeks to repeal the Standards Organisation of Nigeria Act, No.14 of 2015 and enact the SON Act, 2023 to additional functions for the organisation, create new offences and increase penalties for offences relating to standardisation.
Leading the debate, the sponsor of the bill, Professor Julius Ihonvbere, said the key amendment is to criminalize the production, importation, distribution dealing in substandard life-endangering products and impose a custodial sentence of 5 years without an option of fine on persons convicted.
The lawmaker explained that the bill seeks to mandate the Organisation to publish annually, products deemed as life-endangering, and also proposes a 50% increment across board for all fines under the old act to align with current economic realities.
Some sections in the previous act affect the rights of people such as the reduction in the duration for which the organisation can seize and detain hazardous goods without an order of Court from 90 days to 45 days.
He added that the power granted to the Organisation under the old Act to destroy hazardous goods without an order of Court has been expunged.
Ihonvbere noted that the idea of a mandatory custodial sentence for certain offences especially those relative to life-endangering products is the most effective tool to deter likely offenders.
Reporting By Ibrahim Shehu: Editing by Marian Benjamin and Annabel Nwachukwu