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Igwe Died to Stop Bolingo’s Demolition

Posted by From George Oji in Abuja on 2005/10/25 | Views: 2165 |

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Igwe Died to Stop Bolingo’s Demolition


The death of Chief Joseph Igwe, Chairman of Bolingo Hotel, Abuja and a double Chief from Obodo Ukwu, Ideato, Imo State portended more than a single tragedy in one way than one. Before the plane crashed, Igwe had been engaged in the fierce battle to save the multi-million naira Bolingo hotel from demolition by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).

The death of Chief Joseph Igwe, Chairman of Bolingo Hotel, Abuja and a double Chief from Obodo Ukwu, Ideato, Imo State portended more than a single tragedy in one way than one. Before the plane crashed, Igwe had been engaged in the fierce battle to save the multi-million naira Bolingo hotel from demolition by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).

By Friday, October 21 when Igwe travelled to Lagos en-route Ota with two other directors of the hospitality outfit to see President Olusegun Obasanjo to mount what was considered as the final lobby to save the hotel, he had barely six days to the expiration period given him to make way for the final demolition of the hotel by the FCDA authorities.

Igwe and his co-directors had planned to meet with the president who was being awaited at his Ota farm house after declaring open the 4th ECOWAS Trade Fair, which kicked off at the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, Badagry Express Way. They were to launch a most passionate appeal Obasanjo should intervene to spare the sprawling hotel from demolition, after they had tried in vain to convince the demolition team of the Federal Capital Territory Ministry from going ahead with the planned destruction exercise. The hotel is one of the structures considered to have violated the original master plan of the city.

As fate would have it, by the time Igwe and his team were Abuja bound in the ill-fated Bellview plane, it was not quite clear what the outcome of their mission to Ota was since they hardly had the opportunity to convey the outcome of their trip to anybody.

The question now on the lips of many is will the demolition of Bolingo hotel go ahead irrespective of the outcome of the parley with Obasanjo and the tragedy of the death of Igwe and his directors.

Only last year the late Igwe prematurely terminated the management contract he had entered into the previous year with Protea Ltd, a South African hospitality management outfit for the running of the hotel. Following the contract agreement, the name of the hotel was changed to Protea Hotels, Abuja. The hotel however reverted to Bolingo following the termination of the management contract.

By yesterday, the management and staff of the hotel who initially could not believe the rumoured death had come to terms with the reality of the incident. All the international flags hoisted at the hotel were flying at half mast. Also all staff of the hotel were directed to adorn black dresses in commiseration with the soul of their departed Chairman. Those who wore other colours of dresses had to adorn black ribbons. In addition, condolence register was opened at the hotel.


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