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Published On: Thu, Mar 12th, 2015

Nigerian Businessmen in Angola in Agony over Sudden Ban of Auto Spare Parts

LAGOS MARCH 12TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Since one year now all the Nigerian business men in Angola are passing through a very hard time, mostly the ones who deal on used motor engines. These used motor engines are sourced from Dubai, Japan, Malaysia, etc. The story started this way:
By middle of Feb.2014, we woke up to hear on the streets of Angola that used motor engines have been banned from entering Angola. Before we could get hold of the news to authenticate it, another one says the implementation of the said new law will take effect by 1 day of March 2014.
I leave you to imagine the anger as we run helter-skelter in trying to know what next, bearing in mind that we live in the mist of hate that is synonymous with the men and women of the country called Angola. They deeply hate any foreigner in their land no matter the degree of paint-up and pretences. Do not Forget that during the said date of the unpublicized law and its implementation, many containers are already here in the port of Luanda waiting for custom clearance in areas of duty, etc.

To be precise, many containers entered January; others even came in before then. Many are about 20-30 nautical miles heading to Angola. Others just left the ports of Dubai, Japan, Malaysia with its destination being Angola. How will an average business man struggling in a hate environment direct that these ships be automatically reversed, that the goods in those ships, albeit containers, are now banned and cannot enter Angola?
However, it may interest you to know that those ships and containers made it to Angola between December 2013 to January 2014 before the grapevine news of second week of Feb 2014, and the wicked implementation of the said law by 1st of March 2014, all custom duties to the Angolan Customs paid. These payments were much more than the usual amount paid to clear any twenty feet container. For example, ordinarily a twenty feet container could cost as much as $8000, more or less depending, but in the said containers, we paid as much as $30,000 for each twenty feet because it coincided with the increase in custom duties and ban on certain imported goods.
Poignantly, we did not receive the containers even after such custom duty payments! Subsequently, it dawned on us that over 100 containers with monetary value of approximately 500 million dollars are purportedly seized by the Angolan government.
Nevertheless, we are Nigerians, foreigners who came here with money to do business because the only thing that works and probably benefits at the moment in Angola is buying and selling. A look into their agency concerned with investment in Angola once proved that Nigerians are number one in Investment in Angola. We employ the highest labour. Every shop in Luanda owed by a Nigerian has two to three Angolans employed, a way to give back to the system as we did through Murtala Muhammed in 1975 when we used our national resources in human and material to chase away the colonial Portuguese and declared Angola free from imperialism.
In the widely celebrated Gulf market where we seat in slums, breath hell and do business; every stall owned by a Nigerian no matter the size of his business, employed one or two Angolans. We work hard and we are law abiding because if you ever succeed in Angola, you deserved to be called a hero. Why? You are all alone; they hate you; they do not want you; they exploit you; they use you. You can spend as much as $50.000 dollars to get a common residence paper or what is called visa “tribalho”, working visa, but you will never get it. It is a conspiracy! The government directs a secret policy of hate that makes you vulnerable to the citizens negatively. How?
Because of the traditional leadership failure in Africa, and the inability of the leaders to distribute evenly the collective goods, they siphon the cash abroad and invest it there, then in fear and to create scapegoats to lay their sins and be free, they tell the citizens that all the Money in the land is being controlled by the foreigners, and that has made it impossible for distribution of wealth and infrastructural developments. So the foreigners are the scapegoats, created to take the anger of what the leaders are doing wrongly. It is promoted officially, that is why it is hard to get residence papers and anything to make you comfortable here.
You live without residence papers and at the mercy and exploitations of the corrupt police, Immigration, or any other force that will demand your pounds of flesh as the day go by. On Dec.19, they swamped on foreigners all over Luanda. Both those who have valid documents and those kept as scapegoats. The result was the killing of many in a dirty small prison where even a pregnant Muslim woman was forcefully bundled and she gave birth to 6 months babies who later died, and the mother died too, hence, the present case instituted at Human Rights council of the UN against Angola.
My take is that Angola is a dangerous fiefdom, not fit to be admitted as yet a country in any UN body in the world or seen as a country. The people, the government are the most dangerous and most crude today on earth. Meanwhile, while we were lost on how to get back our containers seized without proper notices for us to guard against any seizure in the immediate future or in the infinite future. We as Nigerian community officially approached our Ambassador narrated our plight and sought that he use any form of diplomacy to help us recover our containers.
He told us that in that week Obasanjo will be visiting Angola, and will meet with the Angolan president. Furthermore, he said he will arrange a meeting between Obasanjo and the leadership of Nigerian community for them to present the case so Obasanjo so he can take it to the Angolan president and plead with him. Accordingly, the community met Obasanjo, presented the case and OBJ promised he will intervene on our behalf. Our later visit to the ambassador showed that indeed, OBJ reported the case to Angolan president who in turn told them to write officially directing the letter to his office for his attention.
On the other hand, the whole process was completed but one year later, no answer either from the President or anybody. Many obviously has lost their capitals, many cannot pay rents again, many has closed their shops and gone back home helplessly. Many cannot eat twice a day or fulfil their fatherly responsibilities to their children and families. In fact, what we see every day is group of Angolans with the Congo Democratic Republic citizens resident in Angola sell large number of used motor engines to people.
What we got from investigations is that some people collaborate with the security officials, steal away containers, off-load all the engines and bring back the containers placing it in the same position, but the engines has been stolen and sold. Many engines have been stolen away from the place where our containers were packed. We have lost all hope! Government should help struggling men and women grow out of poverty and not create poverty! All our struggles are gone!
Now, therefore, please before we die finally, let us leave something for posterity, history, because Nigeria has been one country that takes the burden of other African countries. From Sierra-Loan to Liberia, to Angola and many others, Nigeria has acted as a big brother, what the white men cannot do without protection of some economic interest. But at last Nigeria is being destroyed, her citizens visited with hate especially in the same Africa. Angola has all the rights to make laws to govern their country, and we have rights to obey it and keep to such rules, but why will a law not have human face? Why will laws be directed to kill some people because they are foreigners? How many months does a ship take to navigate into Angola? How many months does a trader need to diversify and hold his capital? Why will it take only one month to implement such laws in Democracy? Did you announce to the public or seek to inform them then giving them time to stop the importation of such goods? Why did you hold on to even those who came in January and duties paid to customs without allowing them to go? Many more questions!
Do not forget Angola is number one country in the world today that uses propaganda much more than anything to govern her people and relate to the world. Sovereignty they say stopped at the door of international laws. Economic rights are international laws, so because nations like Angola are so wicked that they can make laws overnight to intimidate and cripple foreigners in their land, internationalization and universalization of human and economic rights became laws above nations. How can we put these to the world and my government at home?
At least, to help foreign policy creators in Nigeria of today to diversify completely and put our interest at heart each time some of these wicked and ungrateful nations come calling for help.
Please Dan, write for Nigerian community in Angola a master pieces of SAVE OUR SOUL message to the National Assembly of Nigeria and the Presidency. Tell them all the stories of how we are at the verge of losing about 500 million USD of used motor engines we import and sell in Angola. Let them peacefully intervene and dialogue with Angolan government to release those containers as we will never obviously violate laws. Let them know that we need about at least six months of notice to stop such importations and receive those already on their way; that human laws are intended for the good of all.
Tell them to help as soon as possible to engage Angola in very peaceful way to give us our goods because we did not violate laws. The containers are 100. Sometimes Nigerians face such hate laws because the government does not care, instead they go on dirty politics leaving the most important ones behind. Please we are aware that election is at hand but let them save us here because many are losing the capitals they brought to Angola.

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