The matters arising from the demolition of Ekeukwu Market; the traditional and ancestral monument of the Owerri indigenes, is still burning.
Indeed, the matter is still generating so much venom and bad- blood from the people of Owerri Ndise and the entire people of Owerri Zone.
The fire generated still rage ferociously. It is like a festering cancer that refuse to heal. The people are not happy about it; and infact, they remain inconsolable. It looks like a part of their whole body had been severed from them.
The latest reaction to this invasion and rampage of a people’s heritage, came from a true son of the soil. He is Dr. Raymond Chibuzor Opara, the aspirant to represent Owerri Federal Constituency, at the National Assembly, in 2019.
In an exclusive interview with newsmen in Owerri, the wealthy Chemical Engineer; Industrialist; successful business entrepreneur; and multiple Award-Winner; has vehemently condemned the demolition of Ekeukwu Market.
“The Owerri indigenes and those who reside in Owerri, hardly occupy the right positions in government offices. Their establishments are never in serious consideration, before government policies are executed. Example: the demolition of Ekeukwu, the traditional market of Owerri people. It was a heartless demolition. It affected badly the economic life-wire of Owerri indigenes”
What could be further from the truth. Every society in nations across the world have what they consider, their traditional legacy and Monument. Demolition of Ekeukwu Market is like the demolition of the Buckingham place, in England, where the Queen resides or the Palace of Oni of Ife; or that of Obi of Onitsha, for that matter!
The Ekeukwu Market, has existed for centuries, long before Imo
State was created in 1976. Even, at the peak of Mallam El-Rufai demolition of structures in Abuja, the Wuse Market, was not touched. When it was discovered that the market, traders and shopper, were encroaching on roads at the FCT, it was not demolished. What the FCT administration did was to construct protective iron and bar fence round the market, to restrict shoppers inside the market; without spilling over to the road, to attract traffic hold-ups in the area. That is the way it is today.
The Wuse Market still exist; the traffic still flows uninterrupted in the area. That is what should have been done to Ekeukwu Market: construct protective fence, to wade-off hawkers and traders, encroaching on Douglas Road and environs. That will maintain normal traffic flow; while the market is modernized, cleansed-up and made to continue to serve Owerri indigenes and neigbouring communities.
But to demolish the market outright; without compensation to the owners of shops and buildings there; and without good reason for doing so; except, to build a shopping centre; perhaps, owned by private investors; is to cut the nose to spite the face. That is, take away what belongs to Paul and handover to Peter!
That is an injustice that may haunt Governor Rochas Okorocha and the Rescue Government for the rest of its tenure.