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Govt issues fresh ban on importation of Tokunbo tyres

By The Citizen
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The Federal Government has issued fresh ban on the importation of used tyres otherwise known as Tokunbo Tyres with the Standard Organisation of Nigeria threatening to prosecute dealers in the fake and substandard tyres in the country.

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has accordingly commenced nationwide clampdown on vehicles with expired and substandard Tyres.

Acting Director-General of Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Dr Paul Angya, speaking at a stakeholders’ forum on tyres on Monday, in Abuja, which was organised by the FRSC said many lives were lost to the use of Tokunbo tyres in the country.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Engineer Babachir Lawal, who reinforced the Angya,  position of the government, said as a responsible government, the current administration could continue to tolerate senseless destruction of lives and property of the citizenry on the roads through use of tyres that are either fake, expired or non conducive for our environment.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties in his Office, Mrs Philliz Nwokedi, the SGF, pledged to give the FRSC necessary support to make Nigerian roads safe for all citizens.

He called on tyre manufacturing companies which relocated from Nigeria over the years due to harsh economic environment in the country at the time, to return back to reinvest in the country saying that things were changing for better.

Lawal said: “This administration is committed to creating transparency in business environment and enunciation of policies that could motivate investors to invest their funds in profitable business activities in the country.

“It is, therefore, my hope that all companies including those engaged in tyre manufacturing which relocated from the country some years back, would see reasons to be convinced by the sincerity of purpose being displayed by the present administration in creating conducive business environment for genuine investors for them to be motivated to return.

He assured Nigerians that the Federal Government remains committed to the protection of lives and property of Nigerians, wherever they live and that Government would continue to render necessary support for the success of the FRSC's operations.

Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of FRSC, Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, had in remark disclosed that he has already ordered his officers and men to commence nationwide clampdown on all vehicles with expired and substandard tyres effective from yesterday.

He revealed that between 29 February and 8 April, 2016 a total of 70 road traffic crashes have been recorded attributable to tyre burst.

Oyeyemi, further disclosed that tyre-related crashes have been responsible for 5,288 vehicles being involved in road crashes between 2011 and 2015, saying the this ugly trend has taken dangerous dimension in 2016 in terms of the frequent tyre blowout.

According to him, a survey conducted by the Corps, revealed that over 42 per cent of drivers in Nigeria were ignorant of expired tyre and other relevant manufacturer information including load index and speed rating.

He said: “What we are going to commence immediately is that any vehicle that has expired tyres or substandard tyres will be impounded. We will impound it and asked the owner to go and replace it with a genuine one.

“Passengers would arrange for their continuous journey. We will not allow expired tyres fitted on a vehicle to continue with the journey. Enough is enough.

All the crashes we have been talking about from February this year to April, were all tyre-related. This is not a problem that occurred just today. We have been raising the alarm since Dunlop and Michelin shutdown in Nigeria and relocated to Accra, Ghana.

“It is as a result of this that we have over 250 substandard brands of tyres in the country today,” he said.

He appealed to the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN) and Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) to ensure that tyre manufacturing industries were brought back to Nigeria.

Oyeyemi said: “Nigeria is too big not have a tyre manufacturing plant and that is part of the problem we have on ground today. The forum is to further raise the alarm because we need to support of the government, private sector all Nigerians. We are losing lives not because of the fault of FRSC but of ignorance of drivers.

“On our own part, any vehicle that has expired tyres will be impounded with no fine but use that money to new tyre with your receipt and continue the journey.”

When asked if that was feasible in the face of the current economic crunch, Oyeyemi, retorted “you choose between life and death; either you use expired or substandard tyres with the temperature of 41 degree and the tyre blow-out and lives lost or you buy a genuine tyre with about N11,000.00 and lives are saved.

“The question you should have asked is that how much do they even buy these substandard tyres and I think that is about N5,000.00 or 6,000.00. It is just a question of penny wise and pound foolish. What is the cost of life. Life cannot be cost. Life cannot be replace but tyre can be replaced.

The crash that involved the Doctors from Ekiti State, the tyre that got blown out was manufactured in 2008 and expired in 2012. They put it on the road from Ado-Ekiti going to Sokoto at a temperature of 41 degree.

They were on speed. One of the Doctors acknowledged that they were going on 110 and the maximum speed limit was 90 and they had tyre burst and crashed. That was not the fault of FRSC,” he said.