Niger State Driving Investors Away With Incessant Harassment, Says Business Group

Niger State Driving Investors Away With Incessant Harassment, Says Business Group

An economic interest organisation under the aegis of Access to Seamless Business in Nigeria (ASBIN) has raised fears that the desire by businessmen to invest in Niger State may drop significantly unless the state government embraces good business ethics and encourages investors operating in the area.

The organization said the use of thuggery and intimidation by the state government in its relationship with investors would scare them and ultimately force them to take their businesses to more friendly states.

ASBIN was reacting to the warrant of arrest issued by a Niger State High Court against the Directors of two Hydropower Plants operating in the state, North-South Energy Limited and Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited)l, and one other, for alleged tax invasion.

The Executive Director of ASBIN, Dr. Ogunloye Akanbi in a statement, said it was absurd that the Niger State Government would demand ground rent from the Federal Government enterprises situated in the state.

According to him, investigations revealed that the Niger State government has been demanding ground rent from power companies.

He said, “The Niger State Government has been demanding ground rent from the power companies in the state that were concessioned by the Federal Government. This is an aberration that ought not to be.”

Akanbi said available records indicate that the Niger State Government had commenced suits at the Federal High Court in the state against the power companies, which were ongoing, adding however that “on noticing that it (Niger State) has no claim, it rushed to the State High Court to file a second suit.”

“In a bid to embarrass, harass and blackmail the companies into paying, the state government got a bench warrant against the Directors of the companies when the matter is still pending at the Federal High Court in the State”, he said.

Akanbi warned that if not checked, the thuggery and intimidation antics employed by the state government against investors in the state would scare them to look elsewhere against the desire by the Federal Government to woo investors into the country.

“Besides, Niger State is at present experiencing serious security challenges which concerted efforts must be made by the state government and other relevant stakeholders to make businesses in the state to operate seamlessly to employ some of the idle hands that may be used for criminal activities”, he added.

A Niger State High Court recently issued a bench warrant against Directors of the power companies for allegedly failing to appear in court in a case brought against them by the state revenue service.

Friday Olokor, Abuja

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