The move to seek compensation for states and individuals who suffered losses during the destruction that trailed the #EndSARS protests generated concerns and uproar in the Senate yesterday.
Abiodun Olujimi, (PDP, Ekiti State), had raised a point of order inviting the Senate to urge the Federal Government to set up a visitation panel to assess the level of destruction of public and private assets in Lagos State.
She submitted that the Federal Government should offer a special economic assistance to Lagos State in recognition of its strategic socio-economic significance by paying a financial grant-in-aid of not less than 1 per cent of the share of revenue allocated to the central government in the federation account each year.
But the tone of the debate suddenly changed as Sani Musa (APC, Niger State) rose to counter the prayers of Olujimi.
Musa contended that the havoc and killings carried out in the northern part of the country by bandits were too serious to be compared to the destruction in Lagos. He said Lagos should not be singled out for compensation at the expense of other states that were also adversely affected.
“I do not see the difference from what the hoodlums have done during the #EndSARS protests. In the Northeast, we have seen the destruction and the mayhem that the Boko Haram brought to the region. We have seen innocent souls and homes destroyed. People are being killed, till date I have not heard the government to say they are going to take the responsibility for compensation of the victims.
Musa’s argument attracted agitations by senators from other states where property were also destroyed.
Bassey Gershom Henry (Cross River South), suddenly rose to also draw attention to the mayhem carried out in Calabar after the EndSARS protest.
According to him, Cross River, being a predominantly civil service state, may not overcome the effects of the protests since the destroyed infrastructure were built from the lean state resources over the years.
Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu said one of the lessons learnt from the protests was that those in power had “not done enough for the downtrodden people to get jobs”.
“Security men are not enough to cover the country and were, therefore, overstretched. There is need to decentralise our police. It was a wake up call to the country.”
Consequently, the Senate resolved that the Federal Government should “assist in the reconstruction, rehabilitation and repair of properties and infrastructure that were destroyed” in all affected states of the federation.
MEANWHILE, President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a request to the Senate to confirm the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, for a second and final term in office.
The request was contained in a letter dated 21st October, 2020, and read on the floor by Senate President Ahmad Lawan.