Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Ministers from the southwest who were directed to relocate to their home states for the purpose of dousing the tension created by the #ENDSARS protests and the lawlessness that followed, have presented their report to the Federal Executive Council (FEC), recommending a thorough investigation into the Lekki Toll Plaza shooting incident particularly the role of the military.
The ministers also recommended that the federal government should assist businesses affected by arson and looting in Lagos and other parts of the country through the Central Bank of Nigeria and the National Economic Council (NEC).
They specifically recommended the use of the CBN Intervention Mechanism under the COVID-19 funding or any other related funding mechanism to assist victims of the arson attack across the country, beginning with Lagos State.
Fashola, briefed the council on behalf of Otunba Niyi Adebayo representing (Ekiti), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Sunday Dare (Oyo), Olamilekan Adegbite (Ogun), Olorunimbe Memora (Lagos) and Tayo Aladura (Ondo), as regards how they executed the directive on the October 21st to ministers, for them to visit their states governors in their states.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who briefed State House correspondents in Abuja after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, said the report 15-page report contained documentation of visits to places (private and public) affected by the arson attacks said they want the probe of the Lekki shootings made public in order to achieve closure.
“We also urged that 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.”
He said: “The highlight of the brief 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.
“To also consider supporting the Lagos High Court Judges either with the provision of some office accommodation as a temporary relocation when that request is made. Of course it was hinted during the visit.
“To also urged 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 involved 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.”
The ministers also recommended that the federal government re-mobilize critical organs and agencies such as National Orientation Agency and formal educational institutions to focus on ethical re-orientation, inculcation of family values into the school curriculum.
They recommended focus on etiquette, local reasoning, critical thinking, solution seeking, empathy, self respect, civic duty and human rights.
Similarly, they recommended that the Federal Government should 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 added: “We 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.
“We urged government to also restore confidence in the police and their morale among the officers of men and women and to improve their welfare, while tracking the ongoing reforms being undertaken in the police force.
“We also urged the Federal Government to consider through the federal ministry of health issues of substance abuse amongst the populace and propose solutions because, this potentially affects mental health.
“We made this recommendation mindful of the global opium and substance abuse crisis and the impact on our country as well. We think this is a matter that requires some attention and focus.”
The works minister said in the course of their intervention, they met with governors, saying: “After meeting with the governors, the position of the governors was that Lagos being the epic center, commercial and strategic city state in the south west and the country is where we should all go. That was what informed our visit to Lagos.
“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 properties were also damaged and public buildings like the City Hall, the Lagos High Court, Lagos Forensic Laboratory and DNA Center, 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 Council.
“Then we visited a few palaces – the Lagos High Court led by the governor of Lagos, 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. These were the highlights of the report that we presented.
“The minister of youth and sports also visited the Lagos Island Hospital to empathize with seven persons who were reported to have sustained various degree of injuries in the ward and emergency unit. He also visited media houses to commiserate with them in the destruction of property.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had dispatched ministers to their various states to interface with youth in the wake of the #EndSARS protests that led to the death of peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza.
The shooting incident at the plaza was followed by nationwide looting and arson.