Comrade Isiak O. Buna, Executive Director of HURMA, and other members of the group protesting at the gate of CIC Ltd over alleged breach of Local Content Act 2010_ by the company
A human right group, Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HURMA) on Tuesday, stormed the Lagos office of an foreign trading company, Campaignie Industrielle Et Commerciale (CIC) Limited, for its failure to strictly comply with the Nigeria’s Local Content Act of 2010.
The Local Content Act of 2010, forbids any foreign trading firm to engage in any form of retailing it products by all foreign companies operating in the country.
Consequently, HURMA at a protest on Tuesday, at the firm’s Lagos office, called on the Federal government to ensure that any foreign trading firm strict complied with the Act, to avoid sending Nigerian businessmen out of business and to avoid a situation that will made many of its citizens from committing economic crimes.
HURMA led by its Executive Director, Comrade Isiak Olaitan Buna, stated in a petition captioned ‘on inimical trade practice by CIC Limited which erodes the welfare of Nigerians and constitutes a breach of the Local Content Act 2010’, addressed to the company’s managing director.
In the petition, HURMA alleged that some foreign trading firms, such as CIC Limited, engaged in retailing business of their products, which is against the country’s Local Content Act.
The human rights group who stormed the firm office with placards of various inscriptions such as: “No to CIC Limited shortchange of Nigerians”, “hijacking retail market is economy colonialism and exploitation”, “eroding Nigerian businessmen will create unemployment and increase social crime” and others, stated that from the investigation conducted, the act of CIC Limited and other foreign trading firms, have forced many businessmen in the country out of businesses, as well as many many Nigerians to experienced economic crimes.
The petition reads in part: “this petition is written at the instance of an ongoing harmful practice by Compagnie Industrielle Et Commerciale (CIC) Limited over the egregious practice being systematically carried out by the company which involves its going directly into the retail market to sell and compete with the same middlemen who have been the off-takers of its product, thereby obliterating them from the business chain and putting their means of livelihood in jeopardy. This plot by CIC Limited with this tactics is to force out Nigeria businessmen in the industry and have them replaced by imported businesses and labour.
“Needless to say, this matter requires your utmost attention and swift intervention towards a reversal as Nigerians are being shortchanged from both ends; as Nigerian businessmen who have hitherto provided CIC Limited with its working capital through pre-paid arrangement for supply of goods are driven out, while ClC Limited makes excess profit through its direct participation at the retailing level.
“Sir, the implication for the Nigerian economy and Nigerians in the sector are dire, this practice by the CIC Limited will eventually de-empower, de-tool end swell up the ranks of the employed in Nigeria with a corresponding loss of household incomes. The direct consequences of this are more hungry homes and the accentuation of social crimes and unrest.
“It is an affront and a breach of the Local Content Act 2010 which prohibits the importations of goods that can be locally sourced or services within the capacity and competence of indigenous businesses. To be specific, the concerned area-retailing being ventured into by CIC Limited falls entirely with the capacity and competence of Nigerians.
“It is a disparagement of our laws (especially the Local Content Act 2010) and an insult to the intelligence of the institutions behind their enactment which include the three arms of government and their agencies. It is also detrimental to the efforts of the Buhari-led administration local businesses, create local entrepreneurs as a way of reviving the economy and eradicating perennial poverty”.
The group, therefore demanded from the company a speedy action by quitting the retail market and leaving it for the businesses that have built the network and infrastructures. And immediate closure of all retail outlets of ClC Limited in Lagos and other states throughout Nigeria.
HURMA also called for comprehensive resolution of the matter through the expression of a total obedience to the permissions of the Local Content Act 2010 to fully restore the rights of those Nigerian businesses without any form of backlash from CIC Ltd which prejudice their access to full participation in the sector.
While stating that failure to desist from the act described as ‘economic exploitation and colonization of Nigerian masses and people, said may take a legal action against the company.
Responding to the allegations, CIC Limited’s Head of Administration, Mrs. Ama Roseline, said the allegations are untrue as her firm, which she said has been doing business in the country for the past 17 years,
She however stated that her firm shall look at every allegations in the petition and address them accordingly.
She said: “as a matter of fact, we just received a letter. We were surprised we came to see them carrying placards this morning and on enquiry we were given a letter, my intention is to go through the letter and response accordingly.
“The truth about the matter is that just an allegations which is subject to prove. I don’t know what they mean by retail. But like most trading companies, my company has been in Nigeria for more than 17 yeas or much more. We do our business through accredited distributors.
“And for the years we have existed, we have not any distributor complained that they have been ease out of business. They buy through us and sell directly to the retailers in the market”.