The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is reporting that the agency has arrested two Pakistani Nationals, Messrs. Muhammed Ali and Naveed Akhtar, for allegedly changing the manufacturing and expiration dates of imported Fruit Juice products.
According to the agency the suspects, who are importers, were arrested for conducting the act at a Warehouse located on 6, Burma Road, Apapa, Lagos. The are currently in custody of the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department of the Nigeria Police, Ikoyi.
SON reports that the arrest took place following a tip-off provided to the SON Team by a patriotic Nigerian.
Items found in the Warehouse included expired imported Nesfruta Juice in different flavours, labels that were being used to change the dates, unlabeled basmati rice and some other consumables like bottled and plastic packaged soft drinks.
The Assistant Director of Compliance, Engr. Mathias Makwe, commended the informant and urged Nigerians to join in the fight against these types of illicit acts by providing useful information to regulatory and security agencies for prompt action.
According to him, the discovery was another in the series of SON’s concerted efforts to protect Nigerians from the consumption of life endangering products being distributed by unscrupulous persons.
“What we have discovered is that they are changing the dates of manufacture and expiry, especially in the fruit juices. We have taken samples of the expired products and the labels being used to interface with the existing ones. Some other products discovered here have their expiry dates in order, but further investigations would enable us get to the root of it”, he said.
Matthias said the warehouse would remain sealed until further investigation is concluded.
One of the suspects claimed that the expired consumables were for his personal consumption and the falsified expiry date labels was to ease transportation of the products to his home in Ikeja.
He further said the products got expired due to delays by the Nigeria Ports Authority.
“I brought them only for my personal use not for public use. If you can check the value of that juice, it is not even up to 200 dollar. It is for my own personal use and my family. It is not for Nigerians.”
“I printed new expiry labels because my plan was to carry them from here to Ikeja. Mostly, anytime I go from here, police are always on the road, they always search us and start disturbing us. So I decided to stop the disturbance that was why I printed a new expiry date and changed the former one. It is very few. And you cannot see this fruit juice anywhere in Nigeria. We do not sell to Supermarkets, he said.
Debunking the claims, SON Director of Compliance, Engr. Bede Obayi disclosed that further investigations of the company’s profile on the Nigerian Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS) portal showed that the products in question were brought into the country with wrong declaration.