According to the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), a syndicate specialized in production of substandard and adulterated paint products have been apprehended in Port Harcourt, Rivers State by officials of the organization following a tip-off from well-meaning Nigerians.
SON states that the operation was as a result of weeks of surveillance activities by its officials and security agencies following the receipt of classified information provided by concerned Nigerians on the production of the paint products within residential areas without necessary precautionary measures.
The residential areas where the unwholesome activities were discovered according to the report were in Rumuobiakani, Ada George and Eloparanwo, all in Port Harcourt.
SON State Coordinator for Rivers and Bayelsa States, Engr. Ayoola Ololade, who spoke during the enforcement exercise at one of the sites, stated that over 200 units of 20-litre buckets of paints and 70 bags of calcium carbonate materials were discovered at the site.
“… the sites at Ada George and Eleoparanwo were about starting production when the SON officials arrived and sealed up the two premises where about 50 used 20-litre cans of paints were found in each,” he said
The uncertified paint products being produced by the suspects included Planet Coat Acrylic Emulsion, purportedly being produced at 9th Mile Enugu and Olamac Emulsion Paint, according to Engr. Ayoola.
They were also found to be adulterating popular, certified Made-in-Nigeria paint products including Sloak and Saclux while children and pregnant women were found engaged in washing used paints buckets for recycling.
Engr. Ayoola called attention to not only the economic sabotage associated with these activities but the potential health and environmental hazards associated with such activities. He stated that existing research has clearly established the damage that results from even low levels of heavy metals like lead and arsenic when acquired involuntarily and present in the blood, stressing that poisoning from the metals are usually due to exposure which are either acute or chronic.
He acknowledged the support of well-meaning Nigerians in providing classified information to the agency on the unwholesome and dangerous activity and appealed to all residents of Rivers and Bayelsa States to take a cue in the overall interest of the public.
According to him, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria will not relent in its efforts to apprehend substandard and life-endangering products and the perpetrators in line with its enabling Act No. 14 of 2015.