The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has asked that a new bus delivered by Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited be replaced immediately.
The demand was made in a letter sent to Innoson by the agency, which also expressed displeasure over the use of Made-in-Nigeria automobiles.
The letter, dated 16 January and signed by Mojirola Eniola, the agency’s Principal Legal Officer, said in part:
“Following your organization’s failure to meet our demands for the evacuation and replacement of the faulty 30-seater bus (IVM6751) supplied to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) within seven (7) days of receipt of our letter dated January 6, 2023, we were forced to return the vehicle to your premises.”
According to NAN, this is the second time the agency has rejected the company’s cars owing to non-compliance with requirements or technical failure.
In accordance with the Buhari administration’s advice to support local companies, the agency contacted the motor vehicle company in 2021 about supplying it with a 30-seater bus for its employees.
On November 17, 2021, the agency paid Innoson N49.5 million, including taxes, for the purchase of the bus.
The problem began, however, when the business delivered a 30-seater bus that did not meet the parameters agreed upon with the Agency on November 16, 2021.
The agency immediately rejected the bus and asked its lawyers to seek a substitute that met the agreed-upon parameters.
The agency requested a replacement within 14 days or risk legal action in a letter sent to Innoson on February 1, 2022, through its attorneys.
In response to the threat, Innoson apologized to NAN in a letter dated 14 February 2022 for the inconvenience.
“We want to use this medium to apologise to your client (NAN) for any inconvenience that they may have experienced due to their complaint,” the letter signed by a director, Jonas Ojukwu, said.
Mr Ojukwu, who in the letter claimed that his company does not sell refurbished vehicles, promised to replace the rejected vehicle.
“We will bring in a replacement brand new Innoson 30-seater bus to your client (News Agency of Nigeria) before the fourteen (14) days that you stated from the date of receipt of your letter and we shall retrieve the one supplied before now.
“We want to assure you that our business relationship will not be thwarted by any form of dissatisfaction for our desire is to serve our customers to the best of their satisfaction,” Mr Ojukwu stated.
In spite of the assurances in Mr Ojukwu’s correspondence, the replacement vehicle delivered to NAN on 8 April 2022 only worsened the agency’s transportation woes as it was dogged by successive mechanical faults.
Before the eventual evacuation of the vehicle to the Innoson Abuja office, the bus had been lying idle on the agency’s premises for several months due to mechanical faults.
The Agency’s Head of the Technical Department, Aaron Miller, said the vehicle since delivery had been permanently grounded due to a faulty gearbox.
He said several appeals made to the Innoson Abuja office to evacuate the vehicle for repairs were ignored.
“We made several representations to them to repair this faulty gearbox all to no avail.
“On the three occasions their technicians showed up to ostensibly repair the vehicle, the problems persisted, causing embarrassment to the agency, ” he said.
Frustrated by the vehicle company’s noncommittal response in evacuating the vehicle, the agency issued another seven-day ultimatum to the Innoson Abuja office in a letter dated 6 January.
This was to be followed by a final notice in a 16 January letter and the eventual towing of the faulty vehicle to the Abuja premises of Innoson on Tuesday after the company reneged on its pledge to evacuate the vehicle.
When a NAN correspondent contacted Mr Ojukwu on phone, he said the bus would be repaired.
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