The Nigerian Army Force, NAF, has concluded its plan to enter into agreement with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, on quality assurance of all products deployed for the use of the army force, which hence forth has to be checkmated by the agency.
Speaking at the meeting of both parties to deliberate on the proposed partnership at the SON Headquarters office in Lagos over the weekend, the Director, Provisioning, Nigerian Army, Brig. Gen. Patrick Eze, who led the Army delegate to the SON’s office, said the NAF was trying to comply with the Federal Government’s policy on internal sourcing of materials, and had to be sure that all items used by Nigeria Army meet standards both nationally and internationally.
He maintained that it was pertinent for NAF to partner with SON to ascertain the standards of all items including the uniform, shoes and weapons, saying for instance, if the weapons used by the armed forces are of low quality, it would affect them and the security of the whole nation.
He said, “As the Federal Government continues to emphasise on the patronage of local industries, Nigerian Army is also set to comply with that policy. And as Nigerian Army Ordinance corps, we are in charge of all items received into the Nigerian Army Descentary and we must ensure that all the items received meet up with not only Army standard but also international and local standard.
“That is why we have come to collaborate with SON being the expert to ensure that all items used by the army forces are of high quality so that they do not pose unnecessary danger if they lack the required quality.”
The Armed Forces Delegate disclosed that the partnership with SON, NAFDAC and others was highly necessary since the NAF does not have technology to determine the quality of the items include weapons received, saying that the contractors would only bring them sample and the items would be supplied.
It urged the agency to, as a matter of urgency, set up laboratories within the army environment for update test of such items.
However, the Director General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, Mr. Osita Aboloma, said the agency had standards for the military already, only they were not directed to Army. He maintained that there were established standards for all military items including their uniforms, shoes, socks and their weapons, which needed to be reviewed.
Aboloma, who said standards were life and life document which was not supposed to be static, informed that the two parties would set up a committee that would look into what could be produced locally and set standards for the locally produced items and those imported especially meant for the army. He added that the committee would review the established standards for the military to be abreast of modern innovations.
“The priority of SON now is to protect the local production; we need to regulate them to meet international standards without compromising the quality.
“We are to monitor whatever the government and all other parastatals buy including the vehicles and weapons used by the army force.
“We shall set up a committee to discuss and determine what the army buys in term of quality,” he said as he handed five Standards Code document to the NAF to study for better understanding of the partnership.
The SON boss maintained that the new SON Act 2015 stated that before anyone imports, they must have exhausted all the locally available ones and that the imported materials must have SONCAP.
In the case of locally produced for export, Aboloma said the products must bear MANCAP logo.
Also speaking, the Head, Marketing Department, SON, Mrs. Cynthia Ifeagwu, said the collaboration would go a long way in reviving the moribund textile industries as the army uniforms would be totally produced locally.
Meanwhile, an equipment solution company, SGS, presented the SON with two sets of equipment to aid its effort in testing the quality of products.
The Managing Director of the Company, Andrew Hunter, who handed the equipment to the SON DG, said the instruments were given to support and encourage the agency in its efforts towards flushing substandard products out of Nigerian economy in order to create enabling environment for the local production to grow and thrive.
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