Intels Nigeria Limited with its parent company Orlean Invest Holding has denied reports that its business has at some time been hindered by political influences from the current government, attributing the severance from Atiku Abubakar as an economic decision.
The company in a statement signed by Tommaso Ruffinoni suggested that the organisation has always operated according to market logic.
A former Nigerian vice president Atiku Abubakar, through his media aide, Paul Ibe had accused the President Muhammadu Buhari administration of “destroying his legitimate business that was employing thousands of Nigerians because of politics”.
“Co-founder of Integrated Logistics Services Nigeria Limited (Intels), Atiku Abubakar, has been selling his shares in Intels over the years. It assumed greater urgency in the last five years because this Government has been preoccupied with destroying a legitimate business that was employing thousands of Nigerians because of politics.
“There should be a marked difference between Politics and Business,” the statement had read.
However, Ruffinoni in a statement on behalf of the company said: “Intels Nigeria Limited and with it its parent company Orlean Invest Holding in relation to some statements that appeared in the press yesterday and today categorically denies that its business has at some time been hindered by political influences from the current government.
“The company has always operated according to market logic, thanks to its history and commitment to the development of the Nigerian economy in the oil and gas logistics sector.
“The ongoing contradictions are part of a natural commercial divergence, which will hopefully be resolved, as in the past, by a new approach, in the interest of all the parties, also according to the social role that Intels plays in the country.”
The company also attributed “the severance from the world of Atiku Abubakar was an economic decision, in the exclusive interest of the company, and to irreconcilable strategic differences with the new governance structure of the Intels – Orlean Invest Group.”
The company for several years had been providing integrated logistics services for Nigeria’s maritime, oil and gas sectors.
In 2010, Intels signed an agreement with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), which allowed the firm to collect revenue on behalf of the federal government agency on some port operations.
But for more than four years, the company has been at loggerheads with the federal government on several occasions over alleged illegalities leading to the federal government’s termination of the boat pilotage agreement it signed with the company, after Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), said it violated the constitution.
By Abel Ejikeme