Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has commended the leadership of Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in managing the affairs of the state and also his efforts to rebuild it following massive destruction of property by hoodlums who hijacked the peaceful #EndSARS 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 for rebuild Lagos project.
He said Lagos, being the heart of the Nigerian economy, whatever affects it should be the concern of all Nigerians.
“I assure you all other 35 governors in Nigeria will support you in rebuild Lagos, Lagos is the economic heart of Nigeria while Kaduna is the political heart of Nigeria, 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 governor but you have shown credible leadership and I commend you for that”, El-Rufai said.
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 said his host did all needed to be done to prevent the recent youth protest against police brutality from degenerating to violence.
El-Rufai described the gravity of the destruction as “pure evil”, said he nearly shed tears as he flicked 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.
He said: “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, but 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.
“As a colleague, I can confirm that the Governor of Lagos did all that could be done to ensure that this destruction does not take place. It is very sad to see what had happened in Lagos. I want to assure you that we will support you getting Lagos back on track. We will do whatever support Lagos needs from us to get back better.”
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 the 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 although 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 the State Government remained committed to getting justice for those who were brutalised by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) team of the police.
The Lagos Governor thanked El-Rufai for the extension of support towards rebuilding the State, welcoming all forms of assistance that could be rendered to keep the flourishing for businesses.
Sanwo-Olu, who intimated his Kaduna counterpart of steps already taken to rebuild Lagos, said the State Government was doing it could support those whose businesses were destroyed and create an ambience for commercial activities to get back stronger.