The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Monday, inspected damaged public and private property in Surulere 1 Federal Constituency in Lagos State where he is representing and absolved his constituents of being part of those who vandalised shops and looted them.
Gbajabiamila, whose visit came after the looting spree that took place in Surulere, following reactions to the shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate addressed the residents at Shitta Roundabout, Surulere, and visited the affected shops and the Bode Thomas Police Station.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the Speaker on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, said he addressed residents and traders who gathered at the Shitta area of Surulere, where he assured them that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force had been totally disbanded.
The statement was titled ‘#EndSARS Aftermath: Gbajabiamila visits sites of damaged properties in Surulere, Lagos…Commends police for restoring law and order…Constituents recount ordeals.’
Gbajabiamila said, “You have all spoken and the government heard you loud and clear. While in Abuja where you sent me to represent you, I heard all your complaints. All that happened in Lekki is what we have all seen and it is being investigated. But you see, social media has its good and bad until it’s fully unravelled that we can know the next step to take.
“On the issue of #EndSARS, you should all know that I am there for you as your representative. It is all you want we are going to do. #EndSARS cannot come up again, because there is no more SARS.
“You see all that happened at Adeniran Ogunsanya and Bode Thomas, I can boast that it was not carried out by children from Surulere; we all know they (the attackers and looters) came from outside Surulere because I know my own people. Surulere shall continue to prosper by the grace of God.”
The Speaker was said to have proceeded from Shitta to Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Mall where he spoke to many business owners who gave various accounts of how the damages done to their businesses were executed.
According to a business owner at AOS Mall, Mr. Oladimeji Ogunniyi, the looters carried out the ugly exercise despite the darkness in the mall.
Ogunniyi was quoted to have said, “The looting of this mall started precisely 7:45am till 4pm. So, what we did was that we advised the security in the mall to (put) off the light so that they will be operating in darkness, thinking there may be restraint.
“You can see blood (stains) still on the ground. Immediately the mall lights were put off, they forced themselves into the glass and they sustained degrees of injuries. All the looting was done in the dark. We have over 100 shops in the mall and none was spared.
“All the items in my shops were taken. This is the only mall that gives indigenous and local entrepreneurs the opportunity to operate, except for Shoprite, KFC, and few others that are multinationals. In each shop, we have at least three staff.”
A textile shop owner at Adeniran Ogunsanya Mall, Mrs. Fausat Shomade, told the Speaker that she has lost her source of livelihood.
“We don’t have any other thing that we eat except from this shop. This shop is loaded to the full of textile materials. It was only this few that we were able to recover from the police station,” she said tearfully.
The Speaker also visited damaged shops on Bode Thomas, Surulere, and Bode Thomas Police Station where he was received by the Commander of Area C Police Command, Lagos, Tijani Fatai; the Divisional Police Officer of Bode Thomas, Ibrahim Fasesan, and the Divisional Police Officer of Surulere, Adebowale Adeoya.
The Speaker sighted recovered items, including Shoprite trolleys at the Bode Thomas Police Station.
Gbajabiamila commended the officers of the Nigerian Police Force for restoring law and order in the area.