The Oasis Reporters
December 22, 2017
What is playing out between chief Innocent Chukwuma, Nigeria’s trail blazing entrepreneur in the rare field of Africans manufacturing automobiles and one of Nigeria’s leading innovative banks in the global arena might seem like a business tiff between two economic giants, one from the south east and another from the south west.
But it is much deeper than that.
According to a social media activist from Kaduna, Ibrahim Bunu,
“Innoson is being persecuted under the smokescreen of GTB because he was asked to relocate his automobile production plant to Lagos. He refused and insisted on adhering to Ojukwu’s counsel that Nnewi sons should site their investments within Nnewi”.
“Later on, Nigeria Air force awarded Innoson the contract of refurbishing their aging aircrafts and requested he execute that contract in Kaduna by moving down his Igbo engineers and sections of his company down to Kaduna, he refused. The Air force then saw the necessity of bringing down their dilapidated aircrafts down to Nnewi as western countries could not help in the refurbishment owing to possible forex difficulties.
Innoson, beyond the Nigerian Government’s expectations, gave the previously written off aircrafts, new lives”.
Mr. Bunu went on to posit that “being afraid of what is happening in Eastern Nigeria and the glamorous technology ongoing in Innoson, the FG under Buhari decided to punish Innoson for his refusal to relocate to Lagos or Kaduna where his company would probably be properly sensored.
The first punishment was a series of seizures of his raw materials in the wharf by the customs despite import waivers given to him by the Goodluck Jonathan led government.
Secondly, the 30% policy of buying Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing (IVM) products by the Nigerian government and her agencies by the Jonathan Government was cancelled.
They had previously accused him of importing arms before just to crush him as they did to Ibeto, all to no avail.
There still seem to be a large residue of Igbo phobia, especially by retired soldiers who actively participated in the events that preceded the Nigerian – Biafra Civil War, the war itself and the post war political life of Nigeria.
Buhari fought in the war and may harbor the nagging fear of Igbos, believing that Innoson can manufacture arms for Biafrans to fight Nigeria.
If they can manufacture refurbished gunship spare parts, then they can equally manufacture arms and armoured personnel carriers for “Biafrans”.
But really, Igbo people just want to be given the free hand to prosper in enterprise like others in Nigeria. War is very far from their minds and they want equal rights and opportunities to build a greater Nigeria as the pride of Africa.