The ministers from the South-West zone have urged the Federal Government to conduct a thorough investigation into the alleged shooting of peaceful EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos on October 20.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola told State House correspondents that this was part of the recommendations contained in the report submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.
He added that the ministers urged the Federal Government to support Lagos State to restore damaged facilities occasioned by the EndSARS protests in the state.
According to him, the ministers particularly appealed for the immediate repair of those facilities related to the maintenance of law and order, and the administration of justice such as police stations, court buildings and forensic laboratory in the state.
Fashola said that the report was the outcome of the ministers’ meetings with stakeholders in their home states in the aftermath of the protests.
Buhari had on October 21 sent members of the FEC to their home states, with a view to soliciting the support of stakeholders including political, traditional, religious and community leaders against the violence that emanated from EndSARS protests.
The presidential directive was also meant to douse tensions that resulted from the EndSARS protests across the country.
Fashola said: “The other matter in which I briefed council on behalf of ministers from the South-West namely, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, representing Ekiti; Rauf Aregbesola, representing Osun, Sunday Dare, representing Oyo, Olamilekan Adegbite, representing Ogun, Olorunimbe Memora, Lagos and Tayo Alasoadura, representing Ondo, was in regard to how we executed the directive on the Oct. 21 to ministers, for us to visit our states’ governors in our states.
“So, we first met and then met with governors. After meeting with the governors, the position of the governors was that Lagos being the epicentre, commercial and strategic city-state in the South-West 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.’’
He revealed that about 15 police stations were either burnt or damaged, while 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 Lagos City Hall, the Lagos High Court, Lagos Forensic Laboratory and DNA Center, the Nigeria Ports Authority, were also damaged as well as the palace of the Oba of Lagos and many others.
“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 requested is made, of course it was hinted during the visit.’’
He said the ministers 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.
Fashola also quoted the ministers to have called on government to see if something could be done for the victims through the Central Bank Intervention Mechanism under the COVID-19 funding or any other related funding mechanism.
“We also urged that 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-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.
“We recommended focus on etiquette, local reasoning, critical thinking, solution seeking, empathy, self respect, civic duty and human rights.
“We also recommended 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.
“We also urged the federal government to implement the maintenance of facility management policy approved by FEC in 2019 for Federal Ministries, Departments 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.’’