The offices of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) are both in charge of regulating the importation/exportation of non-consumables and consumable products into and from Nigeria respectively.
SON as Standards Organisation of Nigeria is generally known was established in 1971 under the enabling Act No. 56 and after three amendments currently operates as Cap 412 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1090. The organisation’s governing body is known as the Nigerian Standards Council and they are responsible for formulating the policy thrust under which the organisation is administered.
The aims and objective of SON includes preparation of standards relating to products, measurements, materials and processes; certification of industrial products, amongst others. Under the later aim, a Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) was approved to formulate the relevant criteria to ensure that a material, product or procedure is fit for the purpose for which is intended. The Industrial Standard is divided into six categories:
glossaries or definitions of terminology
standard methods of test
codes of practice, and
The organisation operates a certification Scheme whereby manufacturers whose products meet the requirement of NIS are issued with permits to use the Certification Mark or the Nigerian “Mark of quality” as issued by SON.
Presently, SON conducts food and chemistry laboratory test, engineering (mechanical, civil and electrical) test, textile and leather test and as the custodian of the National Primary Standards of Measurement in the country, offers instrument calibration facilities to industries, research institutions and government agencies.
In the light of the fact that SON is authorised to conduct periodic preventive inspections in factories and markets to forestall the sale of sub-standard products, often, they are a very effective tool in combating infringements and counterfeiting.
Under the provisions of Sections 14 and 15 of the enabling Act, individuals and corporate bodies are criminally liable if the fail to comply with or undertake certain actions as required under the Act.
NAFDAC deals primarily with food, cosmetics, medical devices and bottled water. It guideline provides that:
No food, cosmetics, medical devices or bottled water shall be manufactured, imported, exported, advertised, sold or distributed in Nigeria unless it has been registered in accordance with the provisions of the enabling law establishing that office
Quite apart from the above, labelling of products is also monitored by NAFDAC. The following minimum requirements must appear on the label:
Name of product- brand name or common name in bold letters
Full location and address of the manufacturer
Batch number, date of manufacture and best before date
Net content of essential ingredients in metric weight units in case of solid, semi-solid and aerosols and metric volume in case of liquids
In case of food, ingredients must be listed by their common names in order of their predominance by weight unless the food is standardized, in which case the label must include only those ingredients which the standard makes optional
Food additives and colours must be declared on the label.
There are further provisions for labelling of food for special dietary uses.
An applicant for the registration of any product with NAFDAC is required to furnish that office with evidence of an application for the registration of a trade mark bearing the name of the product; in this case, the minimum document required is a notification of acceptance of a trade mark application issued by the Registrar of Trade Marks. A successful applicant for a NAFDAC registration will be issued with a certificate of registration with a validity period of five years. Registration of a product does not automatically confer advertising permit. A separate application and subsequent approval by the Agency shall be required in the product is to be advertised.
NAFDAC is empowered to undertakes periodic inspection of markets, shops and warehouses and if need be they are also empowered to seize and destroy offending products and seal-up premises of offending persons or bodies.