Although, 100 million of the lethally defective Takata’s airbags have been recalled, it could take years to get the dangerous devices completely of the road across the globe.
That the affected vehicles are in Nigeria is not in doubt. Only recently, Reuters in a report, named a number of auto firms that had continued to sell new vehicles with defective airbags that would eventually need to be recalled.
And these vehicles as usual enters Nigeria through the porous borders, aided by corrupt government officials.
Although the global vehicle recalls, which started last year as a result of the faulty airbags produced by Takata Corporation of Japan, affect over a dozen auto brands, only one dealer has extended the recall campaign to the country and directed owners of the affected vehicles to bring them for repairs.
According to findings, while most owners of these vehicles are in the dark as regard the status of their vehicle, some automobile companies are alleged to have obtained the recall replacement items from the manufacturers and simply sell the parts to unsuspecting after-sales customers.
Automobile consultant, Dr. Oscar Odiboh, slammed some dealers of new vehicles in Nigeria who failed to extend the recall campaign to their customers, accusing them of placing profit over the safety of the people.
According to findings by National Daily, because of the type of chemical propellant used by Takata, the defective air bags can inflate with too much force and spew deadly shrapnel at drivers and passengers.
Takata sold the inflators to 19 automakers, including Toyota, Subaru, BMW, Honda, Ford and Nissan
“The big problem is the air bags are still out there. They’re like bombs waiting to explode,” said Billie-Marie Morrison, the lawyer for a young Las Vegas woman grievously injured by an exploding air bag in March.
Meanwhile, Takata, the company responsible for the controversy has filed for bankruptcy, blaming the scandal for its decision.
Takata President Shigehisa Takada said that with the company rapidly losing value, filing for bankruptcy was the only way it could carry on. “We’re in a very difficult situation, and we had to find ways to keep supplying our products,” Takada said.
Victims and their families fear the bankruptcy filing could leave little money left over to compensate them. Earlier this year, Takata pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges and agreed to pay $1 billion for concealing the defect for years. The penalties include $850 million in restitution to automakers, $125 million for victims and families and a $25 million criminal fine.
“Filing for bankruptcy is going to protect Takata financially, but it’s not going to protect drivers who have been injured or are going to be injured,” Morrison said.