Officials of Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area, LGA, of Edo State invade the premises of the Guinness Brewery in Benin, disrupting operations of the company because it allegedly prevented them from collecting fees from third party haulage logistics companies
OFFICIALS of the Ikpoba Okha Local government area on Thursday, July 23, disrupted the operations of the Guinness Brewery office in Benin City, Edo State. The officials led by Itohan Ogbeide, chairman, Ikpoba-Okha LGA, mounted a blockade at the entrance to the brewery and stalled exit and entry into the premises for a few hours.
Ogbeide told journalists present at the scene that Guinness Nigeria have been obstructing the local government from collecting fees from third party logistics companies engaged in the provision of haulage services.
Kingsley Imade, plant manager at the Brewery, later held a meeting with Ogbeide, following which the blockade was lifted and operations at the Brewery resumed. Before departing the brewery, Ogbeide, however, issued an ultimatum to Guinness Nigeria to comply with her directive on or before Wednesday, July 29, or face further disruptions to its business operations.
However, Sesan Sobowale, corporate relations director, Guinness Nigeria, said: “We are taken aback by this unlawful disruption of our activities ostensibly to blackmail the company to assume the role of an agent for revenue collection from the logistics services providers. The blockade is also in violation of a subsisting court order restraining the local government from mounting blockades at our premises and demanding levies allegedly payable by these companies from Guinness Nigeria.
“Guinness Nigeria Plc is a responsible, law abiding corporate citizen and has operated its business peacefully for several decades in Benin City. While we continue to explore options for peaceful and legal resolution of this issue, we are also consulting our legal advisers to protect our business against further unlawful invasion of our business premises,” Sobowale said.
Sobowale added that “The invasion of our business premises which we witnessed yesterday has become recurrent, and we have had to call the attention of the executive governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to this practice by Ikpoba Okha local government officials. The Comrade Governor was emphatic about the local government having no business blocking our business premises in a bid to collect third party levies. His Excellency acknowledged Guinness Nigeria as the second largest employer of labour in Edo State, after the state government, and a major private sector contributor to internally generated revenue.
“As a law abiding corporate citizen, Guinness Nigeria Plc hereby appeals to the leadership of the local government to act in compliance with applicable laws. We understand our responsibilities, and always act lawfully and with integrity in every aspect of our business. This same principle has guided all our engagements with the Ikpoba Okha LGAand we will advise the local government to engage directly with haulage service providers at their premises on any matters concerning them in compliance with all applicable laws.”
— Aug 3, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT