By Olasunkanmi Akoni and Nelson Alu
Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has assured citizens that the white paper on the final report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution would be made public and fully implemented in due course.
Sanwo-Olu said the State Government would not make any attempt to cover up the recommendations of the panel, whether it is in its favour or not, stressing that the panel report would be helpful in strengthening true reconciliation and preventing re-occurrence of violence in the State.
He said it had been tough for the state government in the rebuilding Lagos project aftermath of devastating destruction on Lagos.
The governor made the remarks, Thursday, while addressing participants at the 10th National Council On Lands,Housing and Urban Development, held in Ikeja, with Minister of Works and Housing and former Governor of Lagos, Babatunde Fashola in attendance.
The theme of the conference was tagged; “Housing Development as a Catalyst For Job Creation, Social Inclusion and Economic Development.”
Sanwo-Olu, who seized the opportunity to comment on the EndSARS saga and first year memorial reflected on the arduous task of rebuilding the state, one year after the state was hit by a wave of arsonist attacks resulting from EndSARS protests.
Recall that Lagos recorded a huge loss in assets and resources, following the violence that trailed the protest, as public transportation infrastructure, court buildings, police stations, private properties and iconic assets were razed by arsonists on October 21, 2020.
Sanwo-Olu explained the panel was set up to look into allegations of human rights abuses against the police and also determine the cause of coordinated attacks on Lagos, noting that the panel’s final report would be fully implemented.
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The panel had only concluded its sittings last Monday, after 12 months it was constituted and submitted reports and recommendations to Mr Governor for further action.
According to Sanwo-Olu: “The panel concluded its sittings about three days ago and has asked for time to put the reports together behind closed doors. We do not know the content of the report, but we want to say publicly that, upon the handover of the report, we will be making it public. We will not cover up anything.
“This is not who we are and that is not what our Government stands for. We will make full disclosure of whatever recommendations that the panel will come up with. I assure citizens of Lagos that we will not leave anything to chance.”
On the arrest of protesters at the Lekki Tollgate on Wednesday, the Governor announced that he had ordered an unconditional release of those detained by the police, except one person who was caught with dangerous weapons at the scene.
Sanwo-Olu continued: “Yesterday (Wednesday), we saw a protest in Lagos and everybody that was arrested in connection with the protest have all been released, except an individual that was caught with dangerous weapons and who confessed to the police that he joined the protest to cause mayhem.”
He however, commended the police for being alive with its responsibility to identify and isolate troublemakers from among law-abiding people who conducted themselves in line with the laws.
Sanwo-Olu, also encouraged the youths to be stakeholders in the development of the state, while reiterating his commitment to reconciliation.
Speaking on the rebuilding effort, the Governor said the destruction had slowed down operational activities of the affected public institutions, but stressed that the state government would not shy away from its responsibility to rebuild the facilities and restore their operating capacity.
Sanwo-Olu stated: “It is exactly a year ago today when Lagos was hit by violence in the aftermath of the EndSARS protests. Lagos witnessed massive destruction of infrastructure, iconic buildings, transport infrastructure, police station and others.
“Today being a year after the event, there is no better time to say how difficult it has been for us as a state and how committed it has been for us.
“As tough as it is, the Government will certainly not shy away from its responsibility. We see the incident as a challenge and we will fix it with everything that we have.”