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IMPORTERS UNITE AGAINST FAKE AUTO PARTS TRADERS, OFFENDERS ARE ECONOMIC TERRORISTS – MADUKA

By NBF News

Maduka displays a pack of an engine part brand being targeted by the 'terrorist'. Left is Samuel.

United by their common fate of being victims of unscrupulous traders, who pollute the Nigerian market with fake and imitation automotive parts, leading marketers and brand franchisees have come together to fight the scourge on all fronts.

Branding the fake parts importers and sellers 'economic terrorists', the genuine parts importers said at a press briefing that the losses to the infringements in the past few years run into billions of naira, and have, therefore, decided to fashion out drastic measures towards saving the situation.

Speaking on behalf of the group in what looked like a declaration of war on fake auto products and those who sustain them, the Chairman of the Coscharis Group, Dr Cosmas Maduka, warned that no efforts would be spared to ensure that the menace which undermines the businesses of owners of popular auto parts products.

Maduka disclosed that the rights of Coscharis over some brands of popular engine part brands which it market exclusively on the country have been violated by the criminals who either fake the products and package them as the real ones or slightly after the names and designs on the packs in order to deceive the buyers.

He, however, declared that the battle line had been drawn, between the owners of the genuine products and the offenders, adding that in the renewed 'war', the National Assembly', the law enforcement agencies, the law courts, government, the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), the Customs and auto parts market associations across the country, would be carried along.

The general public, according to him, would also be sensitized on the pitfalls of patronizing the poor quality and cheap parts, including the financial waste which it amounts to, and the implications for smooth motoring and safety.

The Coscharis Group Chairman, who was agitated remarked: 'As fake food and drugs are dangerous to the human body, so are fake auto parts dangerous to the engine and the body. The same way NAFDAC is pursuing those who fake drugs, we want SON to start pursuing the people behind fake parts. Those who fake auto products are economic terrorists and should be treated as such'.

Maduka said that following recent meetings between his group and the leaders of various market associations, the latter had pledged to cooperate with genuine importers in their efforts to eradicate the fake products. The leaders, it was gathered, requested that they be informed well ahead of any visit to the markets.

In his remarks, the Group Managing Director of Coscharis, Mr. Josiah Samuel, explained that the campaign was not geared towards ' protecting our business interests' alone, but is also for the good of the public.

'People do not go undermining other people's business interests. Just as we have invested so much in promoting the genuine products, so we will invest everything in trying to protect our rights'.

Some of the auto parts importers present, including the Chairman of Magnum Merchandise Ltd, Ike Magnum, however, said that fake products thrive because SON, and the Corporate Affairs Commission register products and brand names that ape existing ones that are already popular in the market.

However, Maduka disclosed that issues like that had been brought to the attention of relevant authorities, just as the Customs had been contacted on the need for stricter control at the ports of entry, as it is done in Ghana. It was also gathered that as a result of the protests by owners of genuine products at different times, some fake were deregistered the relevant authorities..

Besides Abro range of car care products, Coscharis imports Taiho, ND, and KG engine bearings, Teikoku piston rings and Nippon piston rings, all of which the guests were informed , have been the targets of the fake products merchants due to their popularity.

The group, however, said they are committed to making markets too hot for those behind the inferior products, warning that from 2011, they would no longer have a hiding place in any part of the country.

The Coscharis Chairman vowed: 'By the Grace of God, we have the financial capacity to prosecute this war even if it is the only thing I will do for my country.'