The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) notes with a deep sense of loss and pain, the loss of lives, property and livelihoods arising from the subsequent regrettable events following the recent peaceful EndSARS protests. We bemoan the unprecedented levels of destruction, plundering, arson, looting and vandalization that took place, which even with the caution that we expressed in our press statement of Monday the 19th of October we could not have imagined. This is one of the darkest moments in recent history.
We empathise with the families of all those who have lost loved ones during and in the aftermath of the protests. We share the pain of all investors: micro, small, medium and large that suffered losses as a result of the arson, looting and the destruction of their valuable fixed and moveable assets. We share the grave concern of employees who are at the risk of losing their jobs as a result of these deplorable and debilitating incidents. We empathise with the Lagos State government over the wanton destruction of public properties around the state. We also empathise with the Oba of Lagos, His Royal Majesty, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, and the entire indigenes of the state over the regrettable desecration of an important and treasured symbol of Lagos heritage, culture and tradition.
The LCCI wishes to reiterate its position on the imperative of peace, dialogue and engagement as major ingredients for social and economic stability that will enable a conducive environment for investments and the prosperity of businesses. The LCCI implores all stakeholders [the government and the governed] to prioritise dialogue and constructive engagement. We need to embed in the governance process the norms and ideals of the democratic process: rule of law, transparency and accountability in political governance, and citizen engagement, among others.
We wish to appeal as follows:
- That the Federal and Lagos state governments should collaborate to provide support [in the form of grants] to all the victims of the unfortunate outcomes of the protest and the subsequent attacks and destruction of properties and assets.
- That the families of all those who lost their loved ones should be adequately compensated.
- That the Federal Government should come to the aid of the Lagos State Government to rebuild the large number of assets that were destroyed by the hoodlums that hijacked the protest. This has become necessary in view of the current challenging economic conditions that the state was already grappling with.
- That the banks to which some of the victims were indebted should demonstrate uncommon compassion towards them in respect of their indebtedness.
- That as corporate and individual citizens, this is the time to demonstrate our culture of compassion in being our brother’s keeper by supporting, in our various ways, the victims of this unfortunate incident.
We note the setting up of the Judicial Panels of Inquiry in various states to investigate the circumstances that led to this unfortunate incidence with a view to avoiding a repeat of such occurrences in the future. We urge all citizens that may have suffered from all forms of police brutality and injustice to cooperate with the Lagos State Government to bring about restitution and some form of closure on these very unfortunate incidences. We believe there are lessons to be learnt by all concerned – protesters, the government, security agencies and citizens.
We are all in this together and we need the cooperation and support of all to build a Lagos and Nigeria of our dreams. We should sustain the status of our country as the biggest economy on the African continent and preserve the status of Lagos as a leading commercial city in Africa and the commercial hub of the West African sub-region. We should collectively strengthen our resilience, build an inclusive economy and deepen citizen engagement. Long live Lagos State, long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Toki Mabogunje [Mrs]
Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Featured Image Source: Businessday NG