As part of efforts to rebuild Lagos State and achieve genuine reconciliation after violence that marred protest against police brutality, lawmakers at the state’s House of Assembly have began a 3-day public hearing aimed at bringing victims of the EndSARS aftermath across the three senatorial districts.
The hearing, it was learnt, followed a nine-man Ad-Hoc Committee constituted by the Assembly’s Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, on October 26 to investigate the level of destruction of property and loss of lives with a view to determine compensation for victims.
The Assembly’s Deputy Speaker, Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, said that the committee was to augment efforts of the state government on the issue, adding that the public hearing was to display the state’s indomitable resilience and undefeated character which it was known for.
While speaking during the hearing, Eshinlokun-Sanni, who also doubled as the committee’s Chairman, said that the state would not be deterred by the challenges as machinery had been set in motion to rebuild the state and further unlock its potentials.
According to him, we have shown this character before, it’s in our gene, we will show it again. Even in the heat of being in the opposition for 16 years, Lagos didn’t falter, instead, we rose and shone.
“This is another phase, another challenge, another setback, Lagos state shall rise again and shine brighter than ever,” he said while addressing residents of Lagos Central Senatorial District who attended the Wednesday’s sitting.
Furthermore, Eshinlokun-Sanni disclosed the terms of reference of the committee, which included to interface with the victims, relevant stakeholders and community leaders and to ascertain the level of destruction.
Others are to determine the level and value of compensation and restitution, where necessary, make recommendations towards preventing future occurrence of such incidents in the state.
He added that the committee had sent across forms to the victims of the destruction across all the constituencies and that they were accepting submission of the forms, which would be the foundation of the committee’s consideration.
“We shall be leveraging on the knowledge and experiences of the experts we have invited (such as architects, insurance etcetera) in assessing the details and making decisions on how to assuage the pains of our people,” he said.
While clarifying the difference between the House’s committee and that of the judicial panel set up by the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-olu, Eshinlokun-Sanni explained that the latter was meant to unravel the brutality by the police and what transpired during the shootings in Lekki.
“After the Lekki incident, we cannot leave our people, we should find ways and means of mitigating their losses. The primary purpose of the government is security of lives and properties. When such happens, the government must take control and mitigate the suffering of the people.
“The work of our committee is to see how the events after the Lekki shootings affected our people and how we can put them back to work so that they will not suffer more losses. Already, we had COVID-19 Pandemic in the nation and in the state during the year.”
He added that when such incident occurred “there would be a reduction in foreign direct investment into your country and in the state due to the alleged unsafe environment. There would also be capital flight from the nation. What we are trying to do is to bring confidence into our people.”
Continuing, the deputy speaker said, “where the people have insurance cover they would be compensated, where they don’t have they would still be compensated.”
A victim, identified as Olugbenga Oresajo whose shopping mall was destroyed urged the committee to give timeline that would stipulate when the whole process would lapsed.
Another victim, Shade Salami advised that the perpetrators of the carnage should be brought to justice to serve as deterrent to others who might have such sinister motive.