Ministers from Nigeria’s southwest have urged the federal government to investigate the Lekki shootings, particularly the role of soldiers in the October 20, 2020 incident.
Briefing State House correspondents on behalf of the southwest ministers at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday in Abuja, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, stated that they briefed the FEC about the carnage and the destruction of property that took place in Lagos during the #EndSARS protest.
Fashola noted that he briefed the Council on behalf of ministers from the South-west namely, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo (Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment) representing Ekiti State; Mr. RaufAregbesola (Minister of Interior) representing Osun State; Mr. Sunday Dare (Minister of Youths and Sports) representing Oyo State; Mr. OlamilekanAdegbite (Minister of Solid Minerals) representing Ogun State; Dr. OlorunnimbeMamora (Minister of State for Health) representing Lagos State; and Senator TayoAlasoadura (Minister of State for Niger Delta) representing Ondo State.
The ministers had earlier visited Lagos State to commiserate with the Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, during which they visited the Lekki Tollgate scene of the shooting.
Fashola said they urged the federal government to undertake a thorough investigation into what happened at the Lekki Toll Plaza, particularly the role of the military and ensure that the outcome is made public with a view to achieving closure on the matter.
He said the ministers first held a meeting before interacting with governors from the South-west.
According to him, the position of the governors was that Lagos being the epicentre, commercial and strategic city state in the South-west and the country should be visited.
Fashola stated: “So, I just briefed council about the reports that were presented to us by the Lagos State Government when we visited. The summary is that about 15 police stations were lost, commercial undertakings, especially the ones in Lekki and many other parts in Surulere, were damaged; some schools were also damaged. Private property were also damaged and public buildings like the City Hall, the Lagos High Court, Lagos Forensic Laboratory and DNA Centre, the Nigeria Ports Authority were also damaged – the palace of the Oba of Lagos and many others.
“So, we presented the documentary evidence presented to us by the government of Lagos State, which was shown to the council.
“Then, we visited a few places- the Lagos High Court, led by the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, we visited NPA, forensic lab and the Lekki Toll Plaza as well and as you all know, we found some items, which we handed over to the state government at the site.”
Fashola added that Dare also visited the Lagos Island Hospital to empathise with seven persons who were reported to have sustained various degrees of injury in the ward and emergency unit and also visited media houses to commiserate with them on the destruction of their property.
He said the highlight of the briefing was to make recommendations to the federal government to support Lagos State to restore damaged facilities, especially those related to the maintenance of law and order and the administration of justice such as police, court buildings and forensic laboratory.
Fashola said the report was also for the government to consider supporting the Lagos High Court judges either with the provision of some office accommodation.
He said: “To also urged the federal government to consider short-to-medium-term support to small and medium businesses who were affected by the looting and arson, which took place in Lagos and other parts of the country, to see if something can be done through the central bank intervention mechanism under the COVID-19 funding or any other related funding mechanism. And to also ensure that whatever is approved should also involve the National Economic Council, the platform on which state governors meet, so that other states across the country who were also affected, businesses were damaged can benefit in addition to Lagos residence who may so be supported.
“We also urged the federal government should undertake a thorough investigation into what happened in the Lekki Toll
Plaza, particularly the role of the military and ensure that the outcome is made public with a view to achieving closure on the matter.
“We recommended that the federal government re-mobilises critical organs and agencies such as the National Orientation Agency and formal educational institutions to focus on ethical re-orientation, inculcation of family values into the school curriculum. We recommended a focus on etiquette, local reasoning, critical thinking, solution-seeking, empathy, self-respect, civic duty and human rights.
“We also recommended to the federal government to actively seek and support the process of justice for all by ensuring that any of those apprehended and identified to be involved in the perpetration of this carnage be speedily brought to justice and fairly tried.”
Fashola noted that the report also urged the federal government to implement the maintenance of facility management policy approved by FEC in 2019 for federal Ministries, Department and Agencies and to encourage states to do the same.
“We do this because we see this as a usual vehicle to help absorb and create immediate employment of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labour, in order to address huge unemployment and poverty-related part of the problem. This is important because people have skills but we need to provide the economic environment in which those skills can become income-earning and self-rewarding,” he explained.
The committee urged the federal government to restore confidence and morale of the police and to improve their welfare.