Ow­erri Mar­ket De­mo­li­tion: Ekeh Sues for Peace, Do­nates N50m

THISDAY - - BUSINESS WORLD | NEWS -

Chair­man of Zi­nox Group, Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, has called on cit­i­zens of Imo State to al­low peace to reign in the af­ter­math of the cri­sis and re­ported loss of lives, which trailed the de­mo­li­tion of the Eke Ukwu mar­ket, the big­gest mar­ket, lo­cated in Ow­erri, the state cap­i­tal.

Ekeh, a na­tive of Ow­erri, also an­nounced a do­na­tion of N50 mil­lion to be dis­bursed to those di­rectly af­fected in the mar­ket and fam­i­lies of the vic­tims who un­for­tu­nately lost their lives dur­ing the de­mo­li­tion ex­er­cise or­gan­ised by the state gov­ern­ment last week.

This, he hopes, will help cush­ion the ef­fects of the de­mo­li­tion on their liveli­hood and calm the tense sit­u­a­tion in Ow­erri, while also plead­ing with those af­fected not to al­low them­selves to be used to cause trou­ble in the state.

Ac­cord­ing to the Head of Leo Stan Ekeh (LSE) Foun­da­tion, Mr. Niyi On­a­banjo, Ekeh made it clear to the smart im­ple­men­ta­tion com­mit­tee al­ready set up and headed by a man of in­tegrity, Chief Am­brose Ejiogu, that all those di­rectly af­fected, by def­i­ni­tion, means those trad­ing in the mar­ket, whether in­di­genes of Ow­erri, Orlu, Okigwe or from neigh­bor­ing states, will ben­e­fit from the res­o­lu­tion that would be reached by the com­mit­tee.

Ejiogu is the Chair­man of the com­mit­tee. Other mem­bers are: Dr. Vin Udokwu (Sec­re­tary), Chief C.Y. Amako, Prof. Obioma Ihe­duru, Chief Emeka Ek­we­belem, Mrs. Chuks Eke­maru, Dr. Can­ice Nwosu, Prof. Henry Njoku, Sam Nwoke and Chief Ana­lyn Nwaneri, among oth­ers.

The com­mit­tee’s man­date is to work with the lead­er­ship of the mar­ket as­so­ci­a­tion in iden­ti­fy­ing those af­fected for dis­burse­ment of the funds to them. This, he hopes, will be sorted out within two weeks and funds dis­bursed within 21 days. On­a­banjo hinted that Ekeh had two months ago awarded a multi-mil­lion naira con­tract for a com­pre­hen­sive re­fur­bish­ment of a Prac­ti­cal En­trepreneur­ship Cen­tre sited in­side a mar­ket in Ow­erri, which is slated for com­mis­sion­ing first week of Novem­ber as a model.

He be­lieves if the model works, the Imo State gov­ern­ment may repli­cate same in other re­gions for the ben­e­fit of the cit­i­zens.

“Though a pri­vate ini­tia­tive, I am sure he would have men­tioned it to the state gov­er­nor of his plans for the mar­ket.

He in­tends to in­vite qual­ity multi­na­tion­als like Mi­crosoft, Google, HP, IBM, Cisco, Face­book, among oth­ers to come and in­spire Imo State youths so that they can see the big­ger pic­ture of the global wealth roadmap. As a pro­moter of knowl­edge democ­racy, he has been qui­etly as­sist­ing his state in the little ways he can,” On­a­banjo said.

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