Substandard Cement: Court refuses to grant order against Aganga, SON




A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday refused to grant an order restraining the Minster of Trade and Investment, Segun Aganga, and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, from enforcing the new cement law.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed instead, restated an earlier order directing Mr. Aganga and SON to appear before him on June 24, to explain why they should not be restrained from enforcing the new cement law.

Mr. Mohammed had on June 4, refused to grant the plaintiff’s ex-parte application, but ordered that the processes be converted to motion on notice and served on the defendants to enter appearance.

Lafarge Cement, WAPCO, had in an ex-parte application sued Mr. Aganga and SON, urging the court to restrain them from enforcing a new cement quality standard.

At Tuesday’s sitting, Taiwo Osipitan, Lafarge’s counsel, urged the court to grant an interim injunction against the defendants pending
the final determination of the substantive suit.

Mr. Osipitan said that interim orders could be made to forestall irreparable damages pending determination of a suit and prayed the
court to grant such a preservative order accordingly.

Ricky Tarfa, the defendants’ counsel, however, said that he had yet to be served with the plaintiff’s processes to enable him to respond and therefore, sought an adjournment.

Mr. Osipitan, in the originating summons, argued that the defendants had no power to compel his client to manufacture according to the new standard.

He said that due process was not followed in introducing it, adding that the licence his client obtained to manufacture its `All-Purpose
32.5 Cement` would only expire in August 2016.

“There was no notice from SON to vary standard. All we got was a letter written on behalf of its Director-General that they had set up a technical committee, and the next thing we heard was an advertisement.

“The Larfarge WAPCO Cement has been in use for 50 years. We still have till August 2016, two years and two months, to continue to produce what we have been licensed to produce.

“Section 16, 17, 18, of the SON Act gives power to the DG to enter into any premises to enforce compliance with the standard they have purportedly set,” Mr. Osipitan argued.

He, therefore, urged the court to prevent the defendants from enforcing the provisions of sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the SON Act, which relate to substandard products production.

Justice Mohammed adjourned the case until June 24, for hearing.


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