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Innoson should go to jail so Nigeria could be at peace

By Mazi Omife I. Omife



I had thought that the matter between Innoson Motors and GTB had finally ended with the Supreme Court judgement in favour of Innoson. It was a few days ago that I learnt to my chagrin, of a fresh twist in the case through a tagged message from a friend, Moses Akaigwe , which revealed that a Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, on June 24, issued a bench warrant of arrest against the chairman of Innoson, Chief Innocent Chukwuma.

For over ten years now or even more, the Chief Executive of Innoson Motors, Chief Innocent Chukwuma has been in the news over his company’s transactions with his bankers, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. Since then, Chief Innocent has crisscrossed all levels of courts in Nigeria, from the magistrate court, high court, appeal court and the Supreme court.

In all these travails, Innoson has mustered the courage and resilience to defend his rights before the law and through scores of court cases to the point of winning his case at the highest court of the land, the Supreme court where Innoson got a debt judgement of several billions of naira against GTB. And we thought that truth and justice had triumphed over lies and mischief. But we were mistaken. A few days ago, reports came again of a Lagos court issuing a bench warrant for the arrest of Innoson chief Executive.

I pity Innoson. How could he have known that his venture into motor manufacturing business as a patriotic venture to enhance Nigeria’s industrial and technological would become a curse and reason for all these travails.
The trouble he now finds himself today is simply because as a good and patriotic Nigerian, he chose to put his business ingenuity and financial might in the service of Nigerian industrial and technological development.

He chose to demonstrate a sense of patriotism in a country that does not appreciate such sentiments, and prefers to encourage and reward corruption in all its ramifications.
He left all the very lucrative and fast yielding businesses around like hotel business, oil business, transport business, import business, name them, and instead chose to invest in such an arduous, cost-intensive and hazardous motor manufacturing business, just to advance Nigeria’s industrial and technological potential.
Or he could have invested his money in politics and become a power broker and god father in return of millions of naira every month instead of investing for a country and government that despise and kill initiative and hard work.

In venturing into such a high-tech business venture as an Igbo man, he took the risk of facing all sorts of frustration and sabotage by the powers that be in Nigeria, just like they did to Cletus Ibeto.
As a detribalized Nigerian, he waved aside the adage that charity begins at home and adopted a geographical character in his employment policy, with his workers spread all the geo-political zones of the country based on merit without preferential treatment to his fellow Igbos.

Innoson Motors is the the first wholly indigenous and leading vehicles manufacturing company in Nigeria and the first made-in-Africa automobile brand employing over 10,000 Nigerians, thus ranking as one of the highest private sector employers of labour in the country. Innoson Motors has contributed more than any other Nigerian industry to the right against insecurity in Nigeria by partnering with both Federal and State governments in the supply of custom security vehicles at discount rates, including the Nigerian Army, the Police, Road Safety and other Nigerian paramilitary outfits..

The Federal government itself admitted that Innoson Motors has blazed a trail of home-made technology and put Nigeria on the global map of vehicle manufacturing, as declared by the Minister for Information, Lai Mohammed, during a visit to Innoson factory at Nnewi.
His words: Innoson ‘represents the new Nigeria that we are all clamouring for, a Nigeria that, in the words of President Muhammadu Buhari, produces what it consumes and consumes what it produces. We are not visiting this factory merely for visiting sake, we are here so that we can also tell the world that there is a company that is already putting Nigeria on the global map of vehicle manufacturing, and that company is Innosn Vehicle Manufacturing Company Ltd. Having toured this factory today, I make bold to say that Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Ltd. is a trail blazer in the automotive industry, and a shinning example of what Nigeria is capable of achieving if it looks inwards and taps into the boundless energy and ingenuity of its people”. This was two years ago.

Yet, Innoson and its proprietor have been subjected to a vicious circle of frustrations at the instance of Guaranty Trust Bank, other government financial agencies and even the courts and the Federal government continues to look the other way.
For goodness sake, let Innoson go to jail. May be he will find more rest in prison. So Nigeria can have peace.

Mazi Omife I. Omife
Mbuze Na Mbaukwu

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