GOVERNOR Babajide Sanwoolu has revealed that it will cost at least N1trn ($2.6bn) to repair the damage caused by the recent disturbances in Lagos State as a lot of public property was damaged and will bed to be rebuilt.
Last Tuesday, Nigerian Army troops opened fire on unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, killing several of them. This cold blooded murder spared a national outrage and across Lagos State, people took to the streets between Wednesday and Friday, setting fire to public buildings and looting warehouses, shops and the homes of the wealthy.
Governor Sanwoolu’s family home was among the houses set ablaze, as was his mother’s residence, while the palace of the Oba of Lagos was ransacked. Lagos City Hall was also set alight, while several police stations, bus garages and businesses owned by former Lagos State governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu were also set ablaze.
House of Representatives speaker, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, himself a Lagosian, met with Governor Sanwoolu in Lagos yesterday, where the two men lamented the cost of rebuilding the city. Among other public assets destroyed are 89 new buses of the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) burnt down in Oyingbo and Berger bus stations where they were parked and according to Gbenga Omotoso, the Lagos State information commissioner, each one costs about $200,000.
Hon Gbajabiamila said: “The governor was telling me just now that it was going to cost about N1trn to rebuild Lagos. That makes my heart heavy and I asked the governor what’s the budget of Lagos State? What are you planning? And he told me that they’re planning a budget of about N1trn.”
Other affected buildings included the multi-million naira forensic and DNA centre, the Igbosere High Court and local government secretariat buildings. Hon Gbajabiamila described the destruction of properties as sad, saying that it should not occur again.
“This, certainly, is not the Lagos of our dream that we all talk about and I know deep down, and I believe no matter how brave a face one puts to it, that even the protesters have their regrets that things went this far, because from my understanding and from what I’ve seen, both those who are pro-protest and those who are anti-protest, were all affected. There’s very little I can say but I know that standing with me is a man of courage, a man of destiny,” Hon Gbajabiamila added.