Nuli Juice, 8 Rumens Road and My Thoughts

There really can’t be anything more heart wrenching than getting to your place of work and finding bulldozers about to pull down structures. Such was the tale of Nuli Juice, Nuts About Cakes and the other companies that shared the structure on 8, Rumens Road, Ikoyi. Staffs of the various companies that occupy the building had gotten to their place of work on the 1st of September 2016, to find bulldozers and policemen in guns ready to demolish the building.

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A lot of people have argued that in a country where the government claims to be in support of SMEs, this action not only was rash and uncalled for, but also seen as sending the wrong message to investors outside the country about the business climate of Nigeria. Others however, still not in support of the government have come out to say that Nuli Juice and the other companies that occupied the building should have done more to find out about this matter before starting or renewing any form of payment for the building.

Lagos landlords are never truthful, so many at times, you need to do your fact finding yourself especially when it involves huge sums of money. Some tenants had just renewed their rent while others like Nuli juice who moved in just recently had also paid to a landlord who certainly knew about the government’s displeasure with the build but did not say a word concerning it to his tenants.

A certain experience of a friend comes to mind – this friend had just paid a certain amount of money for his rent and had paid for two years straight up. After a month spent at his new residence, he was disconnected by PHCN because of a pending bill of close to a hundred thousand naira. Of course, he was very surprised as he had not envisaged that this would be a problem when he was paying for the rent. He contacted the landlord who made no effort to sort it out with the officials involved seeing that the hundred thousand was obviously an accumulated bill of the previous tenant. At the end of the day, he had to part with another huge sum of money just to resolve the issue.

Though not the same gravity as the Nuli juice matter, both can be compared because in both cases the landlord knew something was up and the tenant had not taken his time to ask for the appropriate documents from the landlord. The building Nuli Juice occupied for instance, was said to have had the “X” symbol on it. Did the tenants bother to find out why the sign was put there and how they could work a solution to this problem?

In my own opinion, all the parties involved are to blame. From the landlord who knew about this problem but kept telling his tenants that the matter was being resolved, to the tenants who knew the building had problems with government officials but did not take out their time to find out the situation of things concerning the building. The government also should have tried to reach out to the tenants and extended the notice to them as well.

If they treat SMEs like this especially in this period of recession, how do they expect foreign investors to readily buy into businesses in the country? How do they expect the economy to grow? Do they realize that the death of small businesses has its ripple effects? Think of how many people lost their jobs due to this singular move, both the direct workers and the indirect workers (artisans, carpenters, plumbers and so many others).

If they treat SMEs like this especially in this period of recession, how do they expect foreign investors to readily buy into businesses in the country? How do they expect the economy to grow? Do they realize that the death of small businesses has its ripple effects? Think of how many people lost their jobs due to this singular move, both the direct workers and the indirect workers (artisans, carpenters, plumbers and so many others).

I must however commend the CEO of Nuli Juice, Ada Osakwe, who seems to have put this incident behind her and is somewhat trying to bounce back. Just yesterday, Uber Nigeria delivered Nuli Juice to Lagos residents who placed orders. It is a good thing that she has not allowed this unfortunate incident affect her business and it shows that she has a fighting spirit. I really do hope that the other businesses affected by this event can recover soon.

This incident, should actually serve as a lesson to Lagos residents for the need to be careful when making payments for apartments.

 

This article was written by Blessing Iyamadiken

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