More business and social bodies are beginning to wade into the observed serial attacks on Intels Nigeria Limited, concessionaire of Onne Free Zone with interests in other port facilities in Nigeria.
In the last one month, the company has come under intense attacks from some agencies of the government including the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and lately, the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA).
In an interview, Dr. Peter Okenedo, a port business development consultant said “The way and manner of the attacks from government agencies one after the other and in some cases, two parastatals at the same time show that the target is to kill the company and render thousands jobless”.
“Apart from the loss of jobs that will result in the serial invasion of Intels, the scenario is capable of igniting youths restiveness in the volatile Niger Delta as many of the youths that will lose their jobs are largely ex-militants.
Already, one of the Niger Delta youth group, the National Coordinator of Niger Delta Youth Council (NDYC), Chizi Amadike, has issued a statement the situation need to stop to avoid plunging the region into another round of avoidable hostilities.
The NDYC Coordinator also reiterated call for immediate repair of the damaged section of the East-West road leading to Onne.
“The condition of this road has led to the suffering of many in the area. This is a part of the country where the government reaps in billions of naira daily yet it does not find it necessary to repair.
“We appeal to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola to visit this road with a view to ensuring that urgent repair works begin in earnest,” the group noted.
According to him, “It has become unfortunate that these government agencies have become willing tools of political persecution against perceived opponents of the present administration”.
The group therefore called on the President Muhamadu Buhari to call on the agencies, and all other agencies of government to order and put an end to the siege mentality against Intels”.
“First it was NPA, then FIRS and then OGFZA. Which agency will descend next on Intels? Government agencies should not dabble into politics. They should stop attacking Intels. If they have any issues with the company, such issues can be resolved amicably rather than the media trials they are doing at present.
“If you observe keenly, you’ll see a common trend in the campaign of calumny against the company. They write letter to the company alleging all manners of offence and then immediately release it to the media.
“This plot to paint the company black is not good for our economy. It is not good for the employees of Intels and it is capable of jeopardizing government’s foreign direct investment drive.
“The federal government and its agencies should be interested in creating enabling environment for businesses to thrive and create jobs. We need as many companies as possible to create jobs in the country, but with the present coordinated attacks on Intels, these agencies are telling the international community that it is not safe to invest in Nigeria,” he said.
In his further argument, NDYC said political risks remain one of the major reasons why foreign investors shun Nigeria, Amadike asked the federal government to reverse the trend, recalling that
“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently identified political risk as a major factor hindering Nigeria’s economic growth. The present government must put an end to this. We the youth suffer joblessness when investors stay away from the country,” NDYC averred.