The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, has risen to the defence of his Lagos State counterpart, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, saying the latter did what was required to prevent violent dimension that marred protest against police brutality across the state.
He noted though the looting, arson and destruction that followed the protests adjudged peaceful was regrettable, Sanwo-Olu made the right calls and sought relevant support from necessary stakeholders, including the Federal Government in mitigating the unrest that claimed many lives and property.
El-Rufai said that despite Sanwo-Olu’s efforts, those who thrive in violence infiltrated the protest to achieve their agenda of wreaking a large-scale destruction on public assets and infrastructure in Lagos.
Speaking when he visited the State House in Marina to commiserate with Sanwo-Olu over the coordinated arson sparked by the EndSARS protest, the Kaduna governor described the destrucion as pure evil.
He noted that he almost broke down in tears while checking images of the torched Lagos assets, stressing that 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, 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 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.”
El-Rufai, who said the youth protest against the police was not out of order, said 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 not 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.