The Unity Magazine had an investigative insight and report on the crisis rocking the leadership of Ekeoha shopping centre with some traders (Concerned Traders) in the market that alleged some negative vibes against the Hon. Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Hon Cosmos Ndukwe and the chairman of the Market Unity Magazine gathered that
1) The accusation by the concerned traders on the conversion of banks, exit points for human and vehicular movement in stores by the Hon Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Hon Cosmos Ndukwe, the aforementioned allegations do not hold water. The unity magazine visited the Sterling Bank which was in operation inside the market, the bank was not converted into any form of shop, the bank was in operation, traders queued at the ATM of the bank for one banking transaction or the other. The Unity Magazine further made more investigative inquiries to know if the bank has ever been converted to a shop before, the traders who were interviewed pointed out that no such thing has ever happened inside the market. They applauded the leadership qualities of Hon Cosmos Ndukwe and appreciated Mr Friday Dimiri for attracting the bank to the market as this is the first bank to have been established inside the market. The traders pointed out that they have been in a situation of comatose until Mr Friday Dimiri became the chairman of the market and initiated the idea of establishing and attracting the bank.
The traders pointed out that the bank has been so useful to them as the days are gone when they are attacked by armed robbers while going to a bank make deposit and withdrawal. There is also an emergency exit point in the market, in the event of any fire outbreak, Ekeohas shopping Center has about 15 major entrances, the flower pot gate is wide enough for the fire servicemen to come inside market Incase of any eventuality of fire outbreak just like he other gates. The unity magazine gathered that the new flower pot area was reconstructed by the Friday Dimiri led administration and the walkway is wide enough. The Unity Magazine also gathered the shops built at the motor park was constructed during the administration of Governor Orji Uzor Kalu.
2) On the alleged accusation that Dr Cosmos Ndukwe approved the conversion of the car parks, fire stations, exit way and emergency exits to lock-up stalls, the unity magazine gathered that no such newly constructed shops were stalls existed within those areas in the market except the ones therein before the Friday Dimiri’s administration. The newly constructed two-floor lock-up stores also got approval from the ministry, the Unity Magazine gathered that the Ministry asked the contractor financier to work in collaborating with the state Engineer to ensure that the building was solid. The Unity Magazine also gathered that Ekeoha market had to also set up a special task force to ensure that the pillars, rods and deck are up to standard.
3) On the alleged accusation that the Hon Commissioner for Trade and Invest and Mr Dimiri has turned Ekeoha market into a death trap and suppressed every opposing view, the Unity Magazine gathered that no building has ever collapsed in Ekeoha Shopping Center, and In further investigation, the unity magazine gathered that Ekeoha Shopping Center is one of the safest and arranged markets in Aba. in an interview with one Mrs Joy Nmecha, she pointed out that Ekeoha shopping centre has become the envy of other traders who trade in other markets because of the pragmatic leadership qualities exhibited by Mr Dimiri.
4) On the alleged allegation of bringing in and collaborating with an Independent Power Plant (Ekeoha Power Station )with Mr Dimiri to disconnect all the shops in Ekeoha shopping centre from EEDC so much that majority of the traders can not afford the usage of the Independent power plant, the Unity Magazine gathered that the Independent power plant has been operating inside the market before the inception of Mr Dimiri as the chairman of the market, the plant has been in the market since 2015 under the leadership of Austin Ikpeama Eze who served as the market chairman from 2015 to 2017, Ada Obasi took over from him and served as the market chairman from 2017 to 2018. The Unity Magazine also gathered that Hon Cosmos Ndukwe was not the Commissioner for trade and investment as at 2015 when the Independent Power Plant started operation in the market. On an opinion sample, most of the traders pointed out that they were happy to have an Independent Power Plant that is more reliable than the EEDC as they pay just a token of #200 every day to the Independent power station. The Unity Magazine also gathered that the EEDC was not disconnected under the leadership of Mr Friday Dimiri but was disconnect since 2013 because of accumulated debts which were about #1,500,000 owed to EEDC by Ekeoha trader because most of the traders refused to pay their electricity bill. One question that we didn’t get an answer is that ..” if EEDC is brought back to the market, who would pay the outstanding debt of over a million naira.”
5) On the allegation of imposed high rate stallage and other fees on the traders, the Unity Magazine gathered that the fees the traders pay are the N 2,500 security levy and the N 18,000 which all shop owners pay to the Abia State Board of Internal Revenue, further investigation was made and all the traders whose opinions were sampled pointed out that, they were not aware of any other payment inside the market. They Unity Magazine gathered that there was never a time since the administration of Friday Dimiri that the traders were asked to #8,000 for stallage fee and market maintenance.
6) On the accused and alleged predicament faced by traders in Shopping Center, the Unity Magazine gathered that
i) The Independent Power plant station has been so efficient in supplying constant power supply to traders at Ekeoha shopping centre, the traders are not forced to use the power supply from the independent power plant.
ii) From inception, Ekeoha market has been a compact shopping centre, The Unity Magazine gathered that even as the shopping centre is compacted, there is a free flow of airwaves as Mr Friday Dimiri was the person that attracted the MTN network mask the traders are using inside the market.
III) As alleged by the petitioners that in the event of fire outbreak, firefighters can no longer drive their vehicles into the market to quench the fire, the Unity Magazine gathered that the market has about 15 major entrances. To mention a few, the Flowerpot gate and the Entrance from Ehi road leading into the market is big enough for the fire fighter’s vehicles to come inside the market if there is any eventuality of fire outbreak.
iv) The Unity Magazine also gathered that there has never been a time a deck collapsed and injured traders inside the market, the Unity Magazine also made more inquiries to prove the alleged accusation that people were wounded in the market as a result of deck collapse, but nobody proved such allegation correct. The Unity Magazine also visited the wing of Zone 11 of the said shopping centre that collapse but traders were seen doing their normal business in the building without panic as a rehabilitation was ongoing on the building built in the early 80s.
Culled from Unity Magazine