By Okunade Adekunle
Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly, have renewed their call for the creation of state police in the federating states of Nigeria, urging the state government to empower and strengthen the Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LSNSC) with all the paraphernalia of security outfits.
These resolutions were made on Monday when the lawmakers had a special plenary session to review the violence that resulted in the attack on government infrastructures, the palace of the Oba of Lagos, HRM Rilwan Akiolu, and private establishments in the state.
While leading the debate, Hon. Rotimi Olowo ( Somolu 1) described the attack as unfortunate and disturbing, stressing that the violent attack on the state infrastructures and private businesses were to wreck the economy of the state.
Olowo added that desecration of the palace of Oba of Lagos was an insult on the cultural heritage of the state, saying that the vandalised public utilities were investment of the state government to alleviate the suffering of the citizens.
While narrating the extent of damage experienced by the state during the attack, the lawmaker called for the prompt prosecution of the perpetrators, suggesting that the House should constitute an ad-hoc committee to meet with the victims and as well examine the extent of vandalization by the hoodlums.
In his comments, Hon. Temitope Adewale, explained the conflict resolution role played by the House before the escalation of the #EndSARS protest, saying that there was no need for the protesters to continue protesting after the government had commenced work on their demands.
Adewale, who commiserated with those who lost their lives after the escalation of the protest, condemned the attack on state properties, private businesses and desecration of the cultural heritage of the state.
He stated that there was need to review the Nigeria constitution so as to address some constitutional challenges, saying that the effect of the havoc wreaked on the public buses would be felt by the citizens.
Adewale, however, called for the creation of state police and the strengthening of the Lagos state Neighborhood Safety Corps (LSNSC) so as to enable them to bear arms.
Explaining his ordeal, the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, said that those who looted his home initially went to the house of a political leader in Ikorodu in search of COVID 19 palliatives, lamenting the level of havoc wrecked by the hoodlums.
Agunbiade explained that the hoodlums carted away some of his documents and belongings of his wife, narrating that they as well went to other political leaders’ houses where they burnt their vehicles.
Other lawmakers took turns to condemn the carnage and deaths that occurred as a fallout of the protests.
In his submission the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa in his speech, said “The events that have taken over our state and by extension Nigeria within the past two weeks regarding the END SARS protests and its aftermath are such that call for concerns in their entirety.
“You will recall that this House of Assembly was the first in the nation to identify with the cause of the youths asking for an end to police brutality in the nation. We unanimously threw our weight behind their movement by even coming up with lofty resolutions that were meant to readily address their agitations.
“It is regrettable, however, to learn that the peaceful protest was not only hijacked by unpatriotic elements who don’t mean well for the populace, but also brutally ended with the use of force that took place at Lekki Toll Gate on October 20. The single incident has reportedly led to loss of lives and belongings, while some are also wounded.
“While I may not say much about the Lekki Toll Gate as investigation to the event is ongoing, its aftermath, however, which has brought about wanton destruction of both private and government property, enterprises, arson and looting all over the country, particularly in our dear state, is pathetic.
“Let me reiterate the position of the government on SARS, albeit. This police unit has been disbanded for good as we have been told by the Federal Government. However, citizens should rest assured that all officers culpable in any form of police brutality will indeed be brought to book.
“urge all Lagosians to imbibe the spirit of oneness. We should not allow the circumstances around us cause any division.
“Let us all come together to rebuild our Lagos. And as the representatives of the people, we will continue to be on their side and always represent their interest towards developing our dear state.
“The state government also needs to take a step further to empower and strengthen the Neighbourhood Safety Corps with all the paraphernalia of security outfits. Also, I think if there is any time for our agitation for state police to be given utmost attention, it is now.
“As a House of Assembly, we aware of the effects of the social media on the overall incident. Hence, I urge everyone of us to verify information properly before sharing. Fake news will do us more harm than good.
“It is on this note that I commiserate with all the people who have been affected in one way or the other as a result of the actions and inactions orchestrated by the protests. My heartfelt condolences go to all the families who have lost their loved ones.
“Lagos State belongs to all of us and we should strive to protect its properties, people and the heritage that binds us together as a people,” Obasa stated.
Also, the lawmakers set up an ad-hoc committee chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Wasiu Eshilokun-Sanni, to relate with the victims of the attacks as they promised to work with the executive arm in rebuilding the state.
Members of the adhoc committee include; Hon Abiodun Tobun, Hon Rotimi Olowo, Hon Ajani Owolabi, Hon Ganiyu Okanlawon, Hon Victor Akande, Hon Rasheed Makinde, Hon Ibrahim Layode and Hon Olusola Sokunle.
Recall that the House had embarked on inspection tours to the scenes of the carnage which include the Lagos High Court, BRT Oyingbo Terminal, Fagba, Isokoko, Pen Cinema Police Station, Alade Police Station, Oba Akiolu Palace, City Hall and Public Works Corporation.