Group Warns against Scaring Investors from Niger State

A group known as the Access to Seamless Business in Nigeria (ASBIN) has warned that investors’  appetite in Niger State may drop significantly unless the state government embraces good business ethics and encourages investors.

It alleged that the use of thuggery and intimidation by the state government in its relationship with investors could scare them and ultimately force them to take their businesses to more friendly states.

In an apparent reaction to the warrant of arrest issued by a Niger State High Court against the directors of two Hydropower Plants operating in the tate – North-South  Energy Limited and Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited –  and one other, for alleged tax evasion, the Executive Director of  ASBIN, Dr. Ogunloye Akanbi, was quoted in a statement to have said it was absurd that the Niger State Government would demand ground rent from the federal government enterprises situated in the state.

He said investigations revealed that, “the Niger State Government has been demanding ground rent from the power companies in the state that were concessioned by the federal government,” which is an aberration that ought not to be.

The executive director said available records indicated that the Niger State Government had commenced suits at the Federal High Court in the state against the power companies, which were ongoing but, “on noticing that it (Niger State) has no claim, it rushed to the State High Court to file a second suit,” an action Akanbi noted, amounted to forum-jumping.

“In a bid to embarrass, harass and blackmail the companies into paying, the state government asked the state-friendly judge to issue a bench warrant against the directors of the companies when the matter is still pending at the Federal High Court in the state,” he alleged.

Akanbi warned that if not checked, the antics employed by the state government against investors in the state could 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 operate seamlessly to employ some of the idle hands that may be used for criminal activities,” he added.

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