The managing Director Checkbest International Limited, owners of Enyimba Mall, located along Etche Road, Aba Abia State, Mr. Chiedozie Njoku, has bemoaned the level of damages and loss the Outlet incurred during the last nationwide youth organized EndSARS protest.
Mr. Njoku made this startling revelation while Speaking with selected journalists in Aba on Thursday. According to him, his company lost over N40 million worth of assets, vandalized and carted away by the hoodlums who highjacked the EndSARS protest in Aba.
Recall that on 22nd of October 2020, hoodlums who hide under EndSARS protest invaded government and individually owned properties in Aba, unfortunately, Enyimba Mall was vandalized and most of the materials yet to be installed were looted.
Addressing the journalists, Njoku said apart from telling the public how Checkbest managed to come back despite the challenges the company faced during the endsars protests, it’s also important to reassure the offtakers, especially those who has stake in the project that “what we are doing is not a fluke and also it’s an opportunity to debunk the perception that the Abia State government has a stake in the projects.”
The Checkbest Managing Director also blamed the violence which follows the aftermath of the endsars protests for setting the company aback from its former arrangement of opening the mall this December.
“Financially, we lost about N40-50m going by the damages and looted materials by the hoodlums during the
“If it wasn’t for endsars that has taken us back to sixty days technically. we would have opened this place by December,” Njoku said.
He however, assured that the place will be open by March 2021. “We should be looking at least by March next year to open this place, as you can see, the project is about 70% completion,” he added.
Speaking on the electricity to power the mall, the Checkbest MD said, the company has made an arrangement for 3 types of power supply, such as, Solar, National grid and back up generator, incase the need arises.
“We have national grid and solar. We want to have uninterrupted power supply and we will also, have generator for backup in case the two power supply fail.”
About the affordability of the shops, Mr. Njoku said “The shop is affordable depending on individual capacities. According to him, any serious business minded individual can afford the shop.
“We did not build it it for upper class but the place is for all, especially business minded people,” he added.
Speaking earlier, Engineer. Kelechi Abiakam, the Enyimba Mall project manager, said the shopping mall would have been open this December, but the highjacked #EndSARS protests in Aba really affected the project.
He decried the situation where hoodlums who highjacked the protests invaded the place, vandalized and looted away everything at the mall.
He said although, despite the set back; “The allocation of the shops has taken place. Our offtakers are around trying to see what is going on, by January, we will start painting the place.”
“From our data, we have about 60% offtakers. before the endsars, we have about 50% offtakers, but with the more efforts we have put in place, we have been able to get more offtakers.”
“The mall is open for all kinds of markets. We have sections, like; Fabric wards, GSM wards, Food courts, etc. It’s a place where you can come, fee free and do your shopping. “We have a total of 430 shops, due to demands of certain groups, we made amends but we still have about 400-430 shops.
Speaking on the issues of the Abia State government stake on the mall, Abiakam said “It’s a Public-private partnership (PPP) projects with the State Government.” According to him, the State government only provided the land, while the development and funding is done by Checkbest International LTD.
Also speaking with the press, the financier, the chairman of AG Mortgage Bank Plc, Anyaogu Ngozi, said the
concept shared by their customer Checkbest, is what moved them to invest in the projects.
“What attracted us is the level of employment this place will generate when opened. We are not funding projects for the sake of profits only, but the employment parts of it, is so much important to us.
“This is the first commercial development we are having in Aba. but we have investment in other parts of southeast, we have in Umuahia and Ebonyi State,” Ngozi said.
Hon. Peter Agba kalu, one of the offtakers in the Enyimba Mall, who spoke with the press said his organization bought the Enyimba mall food courts.
“I was attracted to this facility for the mindset of developing Igbo land. This is our second food courts. we have one for Osisioma. We promote organic eating.
“Our organization has invested over 400 million naira here in the East. If you look at Aba you will think nothing is going on here, Governor Ikpeazu inherited bad roads and he has been trying to reopen Aba.
“Aba Aba is reopening, we are calling on investors to come and buy space in Enyimba mall or invest in Aba,” Kalu added.