AN INJUSTICE TO ONE MAN IS INJUSTICE TO US ALL
by Vin Onyeka
I have watched with a kin interest how the Nigerian State Security Services also known as DSS has turned a business disagreement between Capital Oil and Gas Limited and The Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC into a national security matter thereby detaining him without charges. Despite the fact that a court of competent jurisdiction has cleared him of all charges. The reason why every business man or woman should be concerned is that it can be Ifeanyi Ubah of Capital Oil today, tomorrow it could be another business man/woman or you.
Ifeanyi Ubah, the MD of Capital Oil and Gas was arrested on the 5th of May by men of the Nigerian DSS accusing him and his company of diverting 86 million liters of PMS (fuel) stored in his depot by the NNPC worth about 11 billion Naira.. It should be noted that he has not been charged with any crime at any court of law, without any charges they are threatening Mr Ifeanyi that the offence of economic sabotage is punishable by death. Ridiculous!!!On the other hand Capital Oil and Gas and Ifeanyi Ubah have alleged that the Nigerian government through NNPC has caused his company financial hardship by refusing to pay a debt of over 16 billion Naira owed to Capital Oil and Gas. The Nigerian Government or the NNPC are yet to dispute this debt, making it seem like a business disagreement.
With the insight shared on the matter, you can see why every business person who is doing or plans to do business in Nigeria or with the Nigerian government should be concerned.
Capital Oil and Gas is a private company with the largest oil Depot in Nigeria and Sub-Sahara Africa. It also possesses the largest and deepest jetty in Nigeria. Capital Oil spent over 4 billion Naira to drudge the waters around the Depot. Capital oil has an ultra Modern truck park that holds about 2 thousand tank vehicles. It also employs over 2300 Nigerian with a great number of them from the South East of Nigeria. The Nigerian government found these assets of Capital Oil attractive, thereby approaching Capital Oil and Gas to use their facilities for the dispensation of their products. The NNPC is supposed to be paying for the usage according to what payment agreed in the contract, however like other agreements the Nigerian government is a party to, the failure to make payment remains an issue. Capital Oil and Gas has made several attempts to get the the Nigerian government to pay the debt owed to him, all attempts failed a usual situation when doing business with the Nigerian Government.
Why will the NNPC want Capital Oil to pay them 14 billion Naira before paying the 16 billion Naira been owed to them?
I am concerned because between 2009 and 2010 my own company West Mall Oil and Gas , did business with NNPC and they are owing me 75 million . Meanwhile the banks are charging us an average interest of 40% per annum on the money borrowed. Now tell me what I should do to recover these money from a shameless country and a criminal enterprise called NNPC.
This is why am particularly bitter about how people with no clue of what an average business person is goes through in Nigeria, is treating a fellow business man with good intentions for the country poorly. These people have not invested one Naira in the country , have not created a single employment for the people of this country so how can they possible understand what a business disagreement is or how to resolve them.
Intimidation may have worked in the past but with recent example of Nnamdi Kalu, it shows that it does not work any more. We have had up to our head, its certainly not going to work this time around . I believe that an injustice to one man is injustice to all of us.
We all have a moral obligation to speak out. I just did, how about you ?