By Ugochukwu Alaribe – Umuahia
Developer of the Enyimba Mall in Aba, Abia state, Mr Chiedozie Njoku, has lamented that he incurred huge loss of over 50 million during the #EndSARS protest in the city.
Briefing journalists in Aba, Njoku, who is also the Manager of Checkbest International Limited, explained that hoodlums stormed the complex during the protest and looted construction materials and burnt part of the building.
He stated the destruction affected the deadline for the completion of the mall, but added that the company has started pursuing a new dateline for its takeoff, as all needed materials are ready.
In his words; “During the EndSARS protest, hoodlum invaded the mall and looted construction and burnt some parts. We incurred a financial loss of over N50 million.
“The destruction set the completion of the mall 60 days backwards from the opening date. It also brought about psychological and emotional losses.
“If it wasn’t for what happened during the #EndSARS protest, I’m sure we would have met our December deadline, but we now have a new date of March 2021.
“There are things you can’t fast track otherwise I would say we would have finished it earlier than the current date given. We’re still moving with our structure and normal design. Our clients and off-takers have been visiting and they’re happy with what’s going on here.
Managing Director, AG Mortgage Bank PLC, the financial partners for Enyimba Mall shops, Mr Ngozi Anyaogu, expressed satisfaction that the mall has bounced back after the vandalism by hoodlums.
He said his bank was attracted to invest in Aba because they know Aba is a good place in terms of commerce having had some experiences of the city in the past in terms of commercial transaction.
He said; “So we are not just funding projects for the sake of profits, we also think that it is important that we grow the number of employment opportunities within the larger economy.
“We are satisfied with what the customer is doing because we can see that the customer has sufficiently deployed the funds given and we think we are still within the schedule to deliver to the off-takers.
“Ultimately, we want the off-takers to come, generate employment, generate business and improve the commercial life of the people in Aba. This is the first commercial development we are having in Aba but we have a lot of investments in the South East including an investment of over N5 billion in Ebonyi state.”