Ekondo Microfinance CEO Counters Allegations of Insensitivity Over Collapsed Mast Incident at Methodist Church

Ekondo Microfinance CEO Counters Allegations of Insensitivity Over Collapsed Mast Incident at Methodist Church

Overview of the Controversy

The quaint community in Cross River State found itself at the center of an unexpected conflict involving the Methodist Church Nigeria, Ikot Omin Eno Abasi Circuit, and the local Ekondo Microfinance Bank. At the heart of this dispute is a collapsed telecommunication mast owned by Ekondo Microfinance, which resulted in considerable damage to the manse of the church's minister. This incident has not only damaged property but also seemingly endangered the long-standing relationship between the financial institution and the religious organization.

Initial Incident and Reaction

The collapse of the mast, which occurred under undisclosed circumstances, became a catalyst for tension between Ekondo Microfinance and the Methodist Church. The mast not only caused physical damage to the minister's residence but also sparked an intense debate over responsibility and compensation. Mr. Austin Agbesoyin, the Managing Director of Ekondo Microfinance, has been vocal about his surprise and disappointment with the church's vehement reaction and substantial demands.

According to Mr. Agbesoyin, the bank has faced accusations of insensitivity from the church's community, an allegation he vehemently denies. He pointed out that the bank had promptly taken steps to acknowledge the accident and had shown commitment to address and repair the damages caused. However, the response from the church was not as cooperative as he had hoped. The Methodist Church reportedly set a compensation figure at N35 million, a sum that Mr. Agbesoyin claims is inflated and unreasonable.

Challenges in the Restoration Process

The bank's intentions to fix the damages were articulated clearly by Agbesoyin, who stated that they were prepared to restore the manse as soon as possible. However, complications arose when the church allegedly denied access to insurance assessors and insisted on conducting their own independent assessment. This action has led to delays in the restoration process, frustrating the bank's efforts to ameliorate the situation.

Moreover, Ekondo Microfinance contends with significant financial and reputational losses estimated around N200 million, due to what Agbesoyin describes as 'obstructionist tactics' by the church. This, according to him, goes beyond mere compensation and touches on the goodwill and community responsibility that the bank has endeavored to build over the years.

Insurance and Legal Considerations

The aspect of insurance has further complicated the situation. Agbesoyin emphasized that the insurance process involves thorough investigations and verifications which cannot be circumvented. He clarified that the church's demand for a lump sum payment without a detailed assessment is not in line with standard insurance protocols. The managing director stressed that all claims need substantial evidence and proper documentation to proceed, aspects seemingly neglected by the church.

This dispute sheds light on the broader implications of how businesses and community institutions like churches interact when unforeseen events lead to property damage. It also raises questions about the responsibilities of corporate entities and religious organizations towards each other, especially in contexts where community ties are traditionally valued.

Looking Towards Resolution

The still unresolved issue continues to strain relations with the church congregation. However, Agbesoyin is holding out hope for a reasonable resolution that respects the interests of both the bank and the church. As the community watches closely, the resolution of this dispute will likely set a precedent for how similar future incidents are handled between corporate entities and community institutions in the region.

For now, the Methodist Church and Ekondo Microfinance are at a standstill, with both sides holding firm to their positions. The coming weeks might provide a new direction for these talks, potentially involving mediators or legal interventions if a mutual agreement remains elusive.