Lukman Olabiyi, Adewale Sanyaolu and Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Kaduna Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has commended the leadership of Lagos Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in managing the affair of the state and also his efforts to rebuild it following massive destruction of property by hoodlums who hijacked the protest.
El-Rufai, who was the keynote speaker at the 22 Annual Tax Conference, held in Lagos, pledged the support of all 35 states governors.
“I assure you all other 35 governors in Nigeria will support you in rebuilding Lagos. Lagos is the economy heart of Nigeria while Kaduna is the political heart. We are all very concern about the situation in the state. My brother, Sanwo-Olu, is junior governor because we call the first time governor junior but you have shown credible leadership and I commend you for that.”
Governor El-Rufai had earlier shared his thoughts on the level of destruction when he visited Sanwo-Olu at the State House in Marina to commiserate with him and the people of the state.
El-Rufai described the gravity of the destruction as “pure evil” saying he nearly shed tears as he flipped through the images of the torched Lagos’ assets.
The Kaduna governor said Lagos, which accounts for one-third of national GDP did not deserve to suffer such pain. He said the young people who carried out the violence intentionally engaged in an act of “self-destruction” stressing that the repercussion of the action would be felt by them.
“I have spent time to see some of the pictures of the destruction done on public properties in Lagos and I nearly shed tears. Anyone who cares about development and progress will cry after seeing what has been done to public facilities and people’s investment that provided jobs to youths.
“While expressing anger on police brutality may be right, destroying public properties, which will have to be rebuilt using money that is needed to invest in other public infrastructure, under the guise of protest, is nothing but self-destruction. The government of Lagos and the Federal Government will have to re-invest scarce resources that could have been used for other things to rebuild the vandalised facilities.”
On his comment on the protest, El-Rufai said the youth protest against the police was not out of order but it was wrong for protesters to call for disbandment of the entire police force because of the action of a few bad eggs.
He sympathised with the police and those who lost loved ones in Lagos in the wake of the violence, saying the Federal Government must allow wanton destruction of public assets to happen again.
Sanwo-Olu said though Lagos had started to look forward and engage in new partnerships towards restoring the lost assets, he vowed to make the state uncomfortable for those with the intention to destroy the state’s economy and heritage.
Despite the ugly incident that trailed the protest, Sanwo-Olu said he remained committed to getting justice for those who were brutalised by the disbanded SARS.
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, has blamed the escalation of the protest across the federation on the activities of social media.
Adamu disclosed this when he visited Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State to ascertain the level of damage on both public and private facilities during the protest, yesterday.
The IGP said the protest was initially not targeted at the Police or SARS, but regretted that it was later hijacked by hoodlums to loot and cause civil unrest in the society.
“I can tell you that our men acted professionally during the protest, they have their guns, they were being killed, yet they respected human dignity.”
Adamu said he would also address key stakeholders and police officers to encourage and boost their moral which he said was low due to the protest.
Governor Uzodinma said police officers paid huge sacrifice for the nation during the protest.
He said the society needed to embrace the Police strongly, while also assuring that Imo government would support security agencies in the state.
The governor expressed worry that social media was being used to cause trouble in the country.
“I am strongly advocating that social media should be regulated in Nigeria. Opposition party incited hoodlums to cause trouble in Imo, because the real protesters went off the street after my address and assurances to them,” Uzodimma said.