Tough time awaits manufacturers of counterfeit products as they stand to be imprisoned or pay huge fine to serve as deterrent to those whose stock in trade is to produce fake products.
Lagos State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) made the disclosure at the first Lagos State Food Safety Conference and Exhibition organized by the Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency (LASCOPA).
Onigbanjo, who represented the State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said LASCOPA is empowered to shut facilities which engage in unwholesome practises and the production of counterfeit products.
He said: “LASCOPA is the government agency empowered to ensure consumers get value for their money. The agency is empowered to destroy unsafe products, shut facilities where such products are made, sue the manufacturers to court, which can result in payment of fine or outright imprisonment. There are ample consumer protection laws which give consumers a wide array of choices against fraudulent practises.”
General Manager of LASCOPA Afolabi Solebo described the conference as one of the many programmes lined up to ‘rid Lagos of unhealthy, unwholesome, unsafe and sub-standard product’. “This conference would, among others, serve as a platform to help the government come up with policy statements and legislations on food safety,” he noted.
According to Solebo, manufacturers, retailers and everyone involved in food production, processing and supply need to follow standard food safety procedures so the state can achieve a zero-risk food supply.
He said: “LASCOPA was established to help consumers get value for their money, as well as protect them from abuse and consuming hazardous products. We do not deal in consumables alone, but services as well. We work with other stakeholders like Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN); Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON); National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), among others, to safeguard our consumers.
“Most people don’t know they have consumer rights, and those who know don’t lodge complaints. But LASCOPA is here to let consumers in Lagos know they are kings and they have rights. However, it is only when they lodge complaints that we can help them.
“To this end, LASCOPA will be holding a mega rally in August which will take us to Ikeja, Ikorodu, Badagry, Epe and Lagos Island areas of the state to further enlighten the people on their consumer rights.
“Food safety concerns everybody, from the manufacturers to the consumers who have the responsibility of reporting unwholesome practises before LASCOPA can step in with appropriate action and sanctions”.