Investors at Ibom Tropicana Mall along Udo Udoma Avenue in Uyo metropolis have threatened to withdraw their investment over alleged persecution and insecurity.
They also mentioned decayed infrastructure at the mall, frequent attacks by thieves and ill-treatment of Akwa Ibom indigenes doing business in the mall complex.
Speaking with our Correspondent at the Mall on Sunday, one of the shop owners Mrs Unwanaobong Etim said non-indigenes operating at the mall complex are treated as strangers facing all kinds of victimization from management.
Although she did not give details of the form of victimization, it was learnt some indigenous traders at the mall were forced to quit for undisclosed reasons.
This paved way for non-indigenes to take over shops and other empty spaces to the detriment of Akwa Ibom businessmen who threatened to quit despite their huge investment.
Etim disclosed that apart from victimization by the management of the mall, facilities at the multi-billion state-owned mall have decayed over the years.
She listed faulty plumbing systems, falling ceilings, collapsed electrical fittings and leaking roofs as some of the facilities that need repairs at the mall but neglected by management.
She also mentioned insecurity as another threat posing serious danger to traders at the mall adding that burglars break into shops almost every week in the mall.
“In this circumstance, we will be forced to leave the mall because of poor management and insecurity.
“Again, Akwa Ibom indigenes are persecuted here. The management favours non-indigenes.
“Last week two traders from Akwa Ibom were forced to leave the mall. The following day, non-indigenes took over their shops.”
She therefore appealed to the state governor pastor Umo Eno to intervene and save the mall from total collapse as traders are planning to leave the mall if the conditions persist.
“I believe that with the intervention of the State Governor Umo Eno, we can work together to restore the mall to its former glory and ensure a brighter future for the state.”
However, a top management staff of the Mall who preferred anonymity said the allegations against the mall management were in bad faith.
He admitted that two traders packed out from the mall for undisclosed reasons and maintained that management remains fair to all doing business in the mall.
“Some of the allegations are false. I must confirm that two traders left last week but we are fair to all business operators here, ” he said.