Innoson is one industrialist that exemplifies the think-home philosophy that Ndi-igbo need badly. Innoson has all his factories in Nnewi. When he wanted to set up the biggest plastics company in Nigeria, he did not go to Lagos or PH or Abuja or Kano: he went to Enugu and established it over a large expanse of land, employing thousands of people.
There has been a running battle between Innoson and GTBank. I have followed the battle closely and with my knowledge of banking and legal experience in credit coupled with the manner he has been bursting GTB in court, I have come to the conclusion that someone wants to wreck Innoson using GTB and Nigerian Customs.
I am not happy with the roadblocks Nigerian Customs and GTBank are placing on the way of Innoson. I always believe that such indigenous companies should be protected vigorously. More so, when it is an Igbo company and the pride of Nigeria and Ndi-Igbo. More so, when it is one man who has decided to GO HOME like we are always told to do.
Why is it that whenever an igbo man decides to GO HOME, he starts facing unnecessary challenges and imaginary hiccups set by Nigerian successive Governments? The other time, during Obasanjo’s regime, traders in Lagos Decided to stop using Lagos wharf and shifted to Calabar, Obasanjo decreased the tariff in Lagos and increased the one of Calabar by almost 50 percent. Ibeto wanted to go into cement, Obasanjo dealt with him for daring to compete with Dangote. That was how the idea died! Are we still in a Free Market Economy?
I have read much on the case and have also heard underground stories about what caused the legal tussle.
When OBJ was in power, Innoson imported some motorcycle and agricultural machines but they were seized by the Customs despite meeting the requirements. Customs subsequently auctioned the goods worth billions of naira. Senator Iyabo Obasanjo bought the goods at ridiculously low prices. Innoson sued Customs and the court ordered Customs to pay Innoson over N2 billion. GTB (bankers of the Customs) appealed the judgement, claiming that Customs had no money, even though evidence showed that Customs had over 10 billion in their account with GTB. The Appeal Court upheld the High Court judgement. GTB went to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile Innoson had earlier borrowed some money from GTB for business. Innoson noticed that some strange charges were being slammed on the account and told its auditors to audit the account. It found out that GTBank had charged it some strange 700 million. Innoson sued GTB and the court ruled in favour of Innoson, asking GTBank to pay Innoson some N560 million with some CBN-sanctioned interest on it, which made the penalty to continue to mount against GTB. GTB appealed. The judgement was upheld. GTB went to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile last year, GTB got an ex parte motion to freeze all Innoson accounts in all banks in Nigeria. Imagine that. This lasted for 9 months until a court quashed the motion last month. Innoson then slammed a N30 billion suit on GTBank for damages it suffered during that freezing of its accounts and crippling of its businesses.
Currently Innoson has about N10 billion judgement against GTB with the interest mounting every day. Unless the Supreme Court rules against INNOSON in the 2 cases as well the new N30 billion case in the High Court.
But GTB is creating a bad impression about Innoson being a bad customer that took a loan and refused to pay, which is far from the truth from all the reports from the cases including the judgements by the judges.
I am happy that Innoson has a good case, which is why he is defeating these demons in a law court. However, I think it is a worthy cause for us to lend our voices to, especially to correct any such twisting of facts and to let the world know that people are watching while these Devils plot to ruin the business of a hard worker.
I am aware that Many Nigerians have had their banks deduct funny amounts from their accounts without any reversal or compensation. Customs also easily auction people’s goods themselves, their cronies and VIPs for one flimsy excuse. But shall we continue like that and watch them cripple such a man who rose to the top through hard labour?