Growing menace of fake bulbs and other lamps in Nigeria

In this year alone (2013), I have replaced bulbs in my home more than I have done in several years put together. In fact, these days, I have resorted to ignoring the need to replace any burnt bulb because of the rate at which these bulbs go bad. Some don’t even work for up to a month before they blow up. This is the menace Nigerian consumers would have to deal with, in addition to the myriad of age-long lists of sub-standard products cutting across almost every sphere of our lives, from computers and ICT products, building materials, cars and spare parts to basic products such as handkerchiefs, towels and padlocks.

Without running the risk of playing the blame game, I really think that this issue metamorphosed into full blown menace with Nigeria’s romance with the Asian Tigers. As this romance becomes hotter, we have witnessed the influx and prevalence of ‘substandard and economically wasteful’ products in Nigerian markets across the country. These products are fearlessly and shamelessly displayed, side by side the original, while buyers are asked to make their pick, based on their pocket. Worse still, some of these fake products are readily traded off as original to unsuspecting buyers, having replaced their labels with original and popular brands.

Just recently, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, the director-general of Standards Organization of Nigeria (#SON) said that the electric light market in Nigeria today is filled with more of substandard products especially lamps of different types. According to him, a normal incandescent lamp is expected to have a minimum life of 1,000 hours but stressed that according to laboratory results, the measured life of these lamps averages between 200 to 480 hours.

He pointed out that 80 per cent of the energy-saving lamps had failed the life performance test, saying that the cap of some of the lamps break off from the shell after the burn out time, making it difficult to remove such lamp holder. This is common occurrence with most of the so-called energy-saving bulbs I have bought. So beloved country men, this issue has gone beyond nipping in the bud. It now demands a colossal all-out cleansing and ridding our markets of these products. This a task that will no doubt take a lot of time, resources, will power and diligence to accomplish. The hope seems even dimmer when one considers the fact that these virtues (will-power and diligence) are in short supply in Nigeria.

In the meantime, Nigerians should take every necessary precaution such as insisting on buying bulbs from reputable stores rather from the road-side sellers (except you know one who has been quite honest with you). Also, the standard bulbs (especially the energy-saving bulbs) have higher prices (between N400-N800), compared to the substandard ones that go for between N150-N250. I personally bought two of these bulbs from a renowned store in Ibadan for N400 each, over a year now, and they are still working. I have had to change many of the N150-N200 types within the same time frame. The ones I bought look quite petit in size but very bright when put on.

We must also endeavour to be diligent in practicing the general energy saving tip of switching off all bulbs that are not in use, especially in the day time. This is especially so because these bulbs are very susceptible to damage from erratic power supply. Remembering to put the switches off can be difficult especially if there is no electricity supply at the time of leaving home or going to bed. Nevertheless, the practice of putting all unneeded switches off before going out or going to bed is sacrosanct. Set the reminder, if you need to.

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