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Group, firm disagree over alleged illegal retail outlets

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The Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HURMA), has accused a foreign company, Compagnie Industrielle Et Commerciale (CIC) Ltd. (dealers in foreign seafood), of establishing direct retail outlets in Nigeria.

HURMA members stormed the CIC Limited head office in Apapa, on Tuesday morning, to submit a protest letter to the management of the company.

Members of the group displayed placards, with the inscription: “No to CIC Limited Shortchange of Nigerians. Do not replace Nigerian businessmen with foreign labour.

The Executive Director, HURMA, Mr. Buna Isiak, who spoke with journalists during the protest, noted that investigations and proofs by the human rights organisation have revealed that the company operates retail outlets in many places across Nigeria, particularly in Lagos.

According to him, the action of CIC Limited contravened the Local Content Act of Nigeria 2010, which gives room for local businesses to grow.

He said: “It is a kind of colonisation. It is imperialistic in style. The action of CIC is killing the Nigerian indigenous businessmen and driving indigenous companies out of business. The implication is that they can choose to create artificial scarcity thereby causing hardship for poor people.”

He further said although the company denied the allegations, HURMA would go into further actions that fall within the ambits of the law, adding that “we may, any time from now, go into picketing.”

He however, appealed to the government to rise to protect the existing law, saying a breach of the Local Content Act 2010, is an abuse on the human rights efforts so far.

Meanwhile, the Head of Administration, CIC, Mrs. Ama Roseline, who spoke with journalists, said the intention of the company was to go through the letter and respond accordingly.

She said: “It is just an allegation,, and when there is an allegation, it’s subject to proof. The company has existed for over 17 years. We do our business through accredited distributors. They buy through us, and sell directly to the retailers. I don’t understand what they mean by retail.”


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