A pro-life advocate and neuroscientist, Prof (Dr.) Philip Njemanze, has petitioned the International Criminal Court (ICC), over the demolition of the ancestral Eke Ukwu Owere Market, Owerri.
The medical practitioner had also petitioned UNESCO to lament demolition of heritage and ancestral sites in Owerri by the Okorocha administration, now a Senator of Imo West.
On August 26, 2018, then Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha had demolished the Eke Ukwu market, pulling down stalls and destroying goods worth over N1 billion.
Njemanze said the demolition of the market by the Okorocha administration was a crime against humanity.
In a letter to Dr. Mechtild Rossler, Director of Heritage Division and World Heritage Centre, UNESCO and copied to Prosecutor, ICC, Njemanze under the auspices of Owerri Indigeneous People Youth of Amawom, partly wrote ” These actions are crimes against humanity, which is under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Den Hague, The Netherlands.
Some of the requests made by the Njemanze led group include: “an Executive Presidential Order stopping all interference, demolition, removal of historical sites including Eke Ukwu Owerri Market, buildings, arts and cultural centres of the Indigenous People of Owerri and in Imo State.
“To mandate UNESCO World Heritage Centre’s investigators in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to further uncover the facts of the historical sites in Owerri using the indigenous knowledge base, for enlistment and protection under the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.
According to Njemanze, the ICC, in its response to his requests, had said it had taken up an investigation on the matter.
Four years after the demolition of the market, Governor Hope Uzodimma, has embarked on rebuilding the market.