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Sunday, March 26, 2023

#EndSARS Protests: Lagos Needs N1trn for Reconstruction — Gbajabiamila

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Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has revealed that Lagos State requires a minimum of N1 trillion to reconstruct the extensive damage of properties across the metropolis.

This happened as South West Governors have alleged that there were some elements keenly anxious to annihilate the South West and destroy it common heritage.

Also, the Ministers from South West condemned the violence, saying proper investigation would be conducted to determine the cause of the violence and prevent future occurrence.

They spoke during a commiseration and solidarity visit to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at Lagos House, Marina, after an the spot assessment of some structures burnt by hoodlums who hijacked the #EndSARS protests last Wednesday and Thursday in Lagos Island.

Gbajabiamila, with some South West Governors such as: Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo, and Lagos States’, Kayode Fayemi, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, Seyi Makinde, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, respectively, with Ministers from south west such as: Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; Mines and industries, Olamilekan Adegbite; Niyi Adebayo, Trade and Investments; and Olorunnibe Mamora, Health, state.

Also the deputy governor of Lagos State, Dr Femi Hamzat, and Nigerian Bar Association President, Olumide Apata, were in attendance.

The team visited the burnt Nigeria Port Authority, NPA, building, Lagos State DNA and Forensic Centre, located in CMS, and the popular Lekki Toll Gate, Admiralty Circle.

Gbajabiamila, speaking with state house correspondents, said,” We stand in solidarity with Lagos state government and the people of the state This is indeed a difficult period. This is not Lagos of our dream. Its indeed very sad.

“I don’t want to take ethnic dimension but I urge us to shut our ears to ethnic conspiracy theory. Nation building is a joint task.”

While commending the northerners from not joining in the violent protests, Gbajabiamila said, “I don’t know where Nigeria will be standing today if the north had been a part of this. that’s why I commend by brothers and sisters from the north.

“The House of Representatives will do all it can to compensate all those who suffered brutality including policemen that lost their lives in the process.

“Also whatever the house can do in rebuilding Lagos and other states it will do. We are now in a state of reconstruction. What must be done will be done.

“You have fought a good fight, government, National Assembly have listened. Its time to take stock and ensure it never happened again. What has happened has happened.

“However, we want to know what exactly happened at the Lekki Toll Gate. The judicial panel must reveal this. However, I want to encourage Nigerians to allow peace to reign.

“I learnt from the governor of Lagos State that it will take N1 Trillion to rebuild what had been lost and asked him whats the budget size of the state he said about N1,Trillion. You can see we are moving backward.

“Hence, we must consider the consequences of our actions before embarking on any venture. I therefore, appeal to the youths to allow peace to reign henceforth. I still believe in unity of Nigeria.”

Also in his address, Chairman of the South West Governors, Akeredolu stated, “We are indeed surprised at the extent of damage to lives and properties in Lagos. We will be right to say Lagos was turned into a war zone.

“We commiserate with the families of victims of violence and slain policemen. We pray God to grant them the fortitude to bear the loss.

”We note with pain and sadness which had spread across our society coming at the heels of vast destruction of properties belonging to the state and notable individuals.

“We commiserate with Oba of Lagos, Rilwanu Akiolu I, with the level of sacrilege committed on the palace. We also condemn in no mistaken terms the vile attack on Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and destruction of businesses where he has interest.

“This regression into savagery exposes our land as not only vulnerable, but susceptible to vile manipulations by elements keenly anxious to annihilate the South West and destroy our common heritage. This must be condemned and we condemn it.

“We are deeply concerned with the ease with which public buildings, utilities, police stations and Investment of our people have been burnt despite the proximity of security agencies In those areas.

“We call on the heads of all security agencies to be alive to their obligations to defend the country. We charge the relevant security agencies to investigate all cases of violence with a view to identifying the culprits.

“We are particularly worried that 48 hours, after the unfortunate incident at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos by persons in military camouflage there has been no definitive statement from the military authorities on the Incident

“Our anxiety becomes heightened by the categorical denial of the Governor of Lagos State concerning the deployment. No Governor has power to authorize deployment of military personnel in Nigeria.

“We note, with great relief, the confirmation by the Governor that no fatality was recorded at the Lekki Toll Gate incident based on visits to hospitals, mortuaries, both private and public. There were no doubt different levels of injury to persons arising from the incident at the Lekki Toll Gate.

“Consequently, we insist that full investigation be conducted to ascertain the veracity of the news items liberalIy circulated by some local media.

“It is becoming very clear that the conflagration may have been caused by deliberate deployment of weapon of mass confusion” apology to Dr. Ope Banwo. The attendant damage was extensive and massive.

“The selective application of jungle justice raises suspicion as regards the real motive of the arsonists and vandals.

“We use this medium to appeal to the youth, especially those of South West extraction, to be circumspect lest they lend themselves to the evil schemes of those who want to destroy our land.

“The protests started off as genuine, demanding reforms and restitution. The current happenings across the South West, especially Lagos State, have exposed dubiousness and complicity evidencing malice.

“We enjoin our youths to rise up to defend our land and people against the diabolical incursions ravaging our space.

“What do we stand to gain destroying ourselves. We cannot continue to fold Our hands and watch our heritage destroyed and our people suffer.

“We must engage, constructively, all those whose dubious solutions to a social problem is at the descent to anarchy. We appeal to them to ‘CALM DOWN’.

Earlier, the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Kazeem Alogba has said that all exhibits and files tendered for various cases in the Lagos State High Court are safe and not destroyed when miscreants set the court on fire.

Alogba, revealed this on Sunday, when he received some South West Governors and Ministers who stopped over to have on the spot assessment of the court during a tour of structures burnt by hoodlums who hijacked the #EndSARS protests last Wednesday and Thursday.

Also, while responding to the total number of government’s buildings burnt among others, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso said “We are still counting. The state is still taking inventories of all that happened and not until all that is concluded we can’t not ascertain for now the total number of burnt structures. But I can’t tell you it’s very huge.

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