While businesses struggle to survive, AMAC moves to drown them.
With the economic hardship in Nigeria, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, some businesses in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, have managed to keep their heads above the water with little or no profit, while others have completely packed up.
Apart from these factors, a major hindrance the survival of these businesses are officials of the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC). This special task force has become notorious for overstepping boundaries and taking bribes, despite the fact that business owners comply with the rules and regulations of running businesses.
Recently, the AMAC officials toured several business outlets in the Gwarinpa area of Abuja. What caught The Street Journal’s attention more is that these guys sealed up a restaurant with workers and customers inside, not minding if a hazard or fire disaster would have occurred.
The restaurant which has its head office in Wuse 2 Abuja, is owned by a 35-year-old lady. She lamented that despite complying with the rules and regulations of the AMAC taskforce, they set out to frustrate her business simply because she refused to offer them a bribe.
Despite the harsh business conditions and overseeing the welfare of her 100 employees, she still has to face the brunt of these AMAC officials.
In her words:
“To be honest, I’m tired and exhausted. I know this isn’t happening to just me. it’s happening to other businesses. This is not fair because we work very hard to achieve success.
“These AMAC people frustrate us every day. They went to the Gwarinpa branch of my restaurant and they sealed it with the people inside, including customers and food meant for sell.”
It is important to note that food vendors and restaurant workers often undergo a food handler’s test in compliance with quality control and standard operating procedures.
“They requested for the food handlers tests result which was in our head office and before we could bring it, they showed a court order and sealed the place. The officers started requesting for N250,000 as a bribe or they lock the place.
“Before I opened this restaurant, I went out of my way to ensure we do the right thing. Last year, I did all registrations and got the receipts on remita. But these guys won’t let us rest. They keep coming every day,” she continued.
According to this young entrepreneur, at the beginning of the year, she requested for all that the AMAC task force needed and ensured that she compiled by making up-to-date payments, including running a test on all of her 100 employees.
However, before these receipts and test results could be presented, the AMAC officials sealed up the restaurant, claiming they had orders from the court and insisting for a bribe of N250,000.
She said, “I’m just 35 and I cannot have peace in doing business? What kind of country is this? What do they want us to do? They refused to come back to open the place even after I pleaded
“Why are we being punished for doing the right thing? We pay our taxes on time….We are trying to make ends meet…I’m tired, I’m tired.”
Watch the video below: