Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Billionaire industrialist, Chief Akai Egwuonwu, is a victim of hoodlums who invaded the EndSARS protest and attacked government and private properties including his company at Agu-Awka where they carted away over 2000 bags of rice, cement and looted his entire office complex.
How the hoodlums penetrated his underground warehouse where they made away with the bags of rice still remained a mystery to him.
Though a privately owned business, Chief Egwuonwu’s rice mill bears Anambra Rice Mill which probably may have presented it as a government facility to warrant the attack and subsequent looting by the angry mob.
At the moment, the billionaire businessman is counting his losses even though he has commenced repair works and installation of gadgets at the office complex that were reduced to carcasses after the mayhem unleashed on the facility by irate youths.
In spite of his misfortune, Chief Egwuonwu seemed not to be deterred by the robbery carried out by EndSARS miscreants as he revealed his determination to create more jobs for youths through his fleet of businesses to dissuade them from crime and criminality.
Although he has left the criminals to their conscience, he believes very strongly that wealth and employment creation are veritable tools to fight poverty, crime and some other social vices in the country.
Chief Egwuonwu whose conglomerates include oil and gas, table water, noodles, rice and a host of others, noted that during nationwide lockdown occasioned by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, he dolled out millions of naira to ensure the feeding of the vulnerable everyday for weeks, stressing that he distributed thousands of bags of rice, noodles and cash to indigenes and the vulnerable as a means to support families during the pandemic.
According to him, it was most unfortunate that over 2000 bags of rice were looted from his warehouse in Awka together with hundreds of bags of cement being used for another warehouse beside the existing one and that his entire office building was completely vandalized.
The business mogul narrated that furniture, electronics, everything except his pictures were carted away by the desperados. Despite the tragedy that befell him, Chief Akai Egwuonwu restrained security agents from opening fire on the looters as he believes no life was worth wasting for material things and they were left to have a field day.
He however cleared the air that Anambra Rice Mill was his private business even though it has Anambra Rice out of patriotism to show the rice was made in Anambra and not owned by the Anambra State Government as many misconstrued.
He said that his company just like many others in the State enjoyed the business friendly environment created by the Willie Obiano administration and various business support platforms and patronage by the State Government just like other privately owned businesses in the State like Cosharis and Innoson.
The industrialist therefore urged the youths, especially those who attacked his facility, to channel their grievances appropriately to the Government and not on private properties and individuals who themselves were victims of the State of affairs in the nation.
Chief Egwuonwu condemned the mayhem unleashed on his office complex, describing the dastardly act as self destruction by youths who were supposed to protect all investments and businesses in the South-East as their contributions to the growth and development of the region and admonished government at all levels to prioritize the welfare of citizens especially the youths to avoid a resurgence of the likes of the EndSARS protest in the country.