The Senate has called on the Federal Government, to as a matter of urgency, reconstruct and rebuild infrastructure destroyed by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protest in Lagos and Calabar.
The Upper Chamber gave the charge during plenary on Tuesday, 24 November, 2020 following consideration of two separate motions brought to the floor by Senators Biodun Olujimi (PDP – Ekiti South); and Gershom Bassey (PDP – Cross River South).
Coming under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Rules, Olujimi noted that the #EndSARS protest, began on October 3, 2020, and assumed a global dimension following the alleged shooting of a young Nigerian in Ughelli, Delta State.
According to the lawmaker, the peaceful protest turned violent as a result of its hijack by hoodlums and the intervention of the military which allegedly led to the death of protesters at the lekki toll gate.
“Aware that 7 October, 2020 was the start of a 14-day protest in Lagos that eventually turned violent and hijacked by hoodlums;
“Further aware that at about 6:45pm on Tuesday 20 October, 2020, several media accounts revealed that peaceful protesters were allegedly shot at by the Nigerian military at the Lekki toll gate;
“Concerned that the alleged shooting of protesters further infuriated protesters and tension flared with consequent violent protester and the beginning of wanton looting and destroying of public and private assets across the country and particularly Lagos, the epicenter of the protests;
“Worried that private and public assets destroyed by hideouts in Lagos was estimated to be in the region of over N1 trillion naira by the Governor of Lagos State – Babajide Sanwo-Olu;
“Further worries that the long list of destroyed public and private properties in Lagos are: Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government Secretariat , Palace of the Oba of Lagos; Lagos High Court, Igbosere; Oyingbo BRT terminus; Vehicle Inspection Office, Ojodu Berger; Lagos State Public Works Corporation, Ojodu Berger; Lagos City Hall and Circle Mall, Lekki; numerous luxury shops in Surulere, the Nation Newspaper, TVC and Shoprite Lekki including 27 BRT vehicles estimated to cost $200,000 each and another 57 BRT vehicles estimated to cost $100,000 each, all totaling about N3.9 billion;
“Alarmed that 25 police stations were reportedly burnt in Lagos: Oriole, Amukoko, Layeni, Ilasamaja, Ikotun, Ajah, Igando, Elemoro, Makinde, Onipanu, Ebute Ero, Pen-Cinema, Isokoko, Alade, Cele, Igbo Elerin, Shibiri, Gbagada, Onilekere, Makoko, Daleko, Asahun, Makinyo, Amuwo-Odofin, Anti-kidnapping, Surulere. Other police stations that were vandalized but not burnt were Ojo, Ojodu, Mowo, PPL and Morogbo,” Olujimi said.
Consequently, the Senate called on the Federal Government to setup a visitation panel to assess the level of destruction of public and private assets in Lagos state.
The Upper Chamber in its resolutions also urged the the Federal Government to commit to assisting Lagos State in rebuilding it after the wanton destruction of lives and properties by giving 1 percent of Value Added Tax collection to Lagos State.
It also mandated the Senate Committee on State and Local Government Affairs to monitor compliance.
In a related development, lawmaker representing Cross River South, Gershom Bassey, lamented that “despite the 24 hour curfew, a group of vandals on 24th October, 2020, invaded over 120 properties in Calabar and vandalized, looted and burnt down some high value properties belonging to individuals, the state government and federal government.”
According to him, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) office, West African Examination Council (WARC) office, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) office, the brand new state of the art Calabar International Convention Centre (ICC), the sprawling Tinapa Business Resort, the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, the Infectious Diseases Hospital amongst many others; and private residence mostly of past and present Federal lawmakers were vandalized, looted or burnt.
“Concerned that the mayhem of 24th October was an invasion of the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it was premeditated, selective and targeted at highly valued Federal and State Government infrastructure and Federal Lawmakers;
“Aware that the intervention of the military bases and security installations like the 13 Amphibious Brigade in Calabar, Eastern Naval Command in Calabar, NNS Victory in Calabar, 207 Special Mobility Airforce Unit and Zone 6 Police Command in Calabar preventer the mayhem from spreading”, Bassey added.
Accordingly, the Senate while condemning the attacks on private and public property in Calabar, mandated the Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Defence, Police Affairs, Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to investigate the invasion of the ancient city of Calabar on the 24th day of October, 2020.