Owerri Market Demolition: Ekeh Sues for Peace, Donates N50m

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Emma Okonji

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.