The Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HURMA) on Tuesday 30th July, stormed the office of the Campagnie Industrielle Et Commerciale (CIC) Limited at its Apapa Head office in Lagos to protest alleged inimical trade practice by the company and as well submit a letter on same.
In the letter addressed to the Managing Director of CIC Ltd with the title “PETITION ON INIMICAL TRADE PRACTICE BY CIC LIMITED WHICH ERODES THE WELFARE OF NIGERIANS AND CONSTITUTES A BREACH OF THE LOCAL CONTENT ACT 2010” and signed by HURMA Executive Director, Comrade Buna Olaitan Isiak, who led the peaceful rally, HURMA called on the Federal government of Nigeria to ensure strict compliance of Local Content Act of 2010, by all foreign companies operating in the country.
More so, 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.
Before a final media address by the human rights group, the CIC Ltd invited the head represented by Comrade Buna Olaitan Isiak, HURMA Executive Director and Comrade Ismail Olawale, the head of Centre for Policy Intervention in Africa to a short meeting in the CIC office. Representing CIC at the meeting were Mrs. Ama Roseline, head of Administration to CIC Ltd and Mr. Olaitan Olasukanmi, the P.A to Deputy Managing Director.
Speaking for CIC Ltd., Mrs. Ama Roseline said her firm shall look at every allegations in the petition and address them accordingly. More so, she denied the allegation of CIC limited involvement in retail practice whatsoever.