Ministers from the southwest geo-political zone on Wednesday urged the federal government to undertake a thorough investigation into the Lekki Toll Plaza incident, particularly the role of the military.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola (Lagos), briefed State House reporters after the 22nd virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at Presidential Villa, Abuja.
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Fashola spoke on behalf of his colleagues from the Southwest, including Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, Ekiti; Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, Ogun; Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, Oyo; Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Omotayo Alasoadura, Ondo; and Minister of State, Health, Adeleke Mamora, Lagos.
President Buhari had ordered the ministers to go back to their various states and confer with their constituents to douse the tension across the country during the FEC meeting held on October 21.
Last week, the President gave the 43 ministers one week ultimatum to submit reports of engagements with stakeholders in their various states over the ensuing crisis that marred the #EndSARS protests across the country, following his discovery that only two ministers had their reports ready as of last week’s meeting of the federal cabinet.
The presidential directive came after the violence that trailed the alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos.
The protesters had been marching against police brutality, especially many brutal and extortionist activities by the operatives of the disbanded Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) across the country.
Amnesty International and other campaigners have said at least 12 people were killed by soldiers and police in two locations in Lagos after the Lekki shooting.
But the Nigerian army dismissed the reports as “fake news”.
Videos posted on social media footage, however, showed men in military camouflage shooting at protesters.
Following the shooting, arsonists went on a rampage and burnt the headquarters of the Nation Newspapers and TV Continental that are linked to the National Leader of the ruling APC, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Federal and state government structures including the headquarters of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) were set ablaze by the rampaging youths who also burnt the family residence of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and that of his mother.
But before the Lekki incident, criminal elements and hoodlums had hijacked the protests by maiming innocent citizens, looting and destroying properties across the country.
Fashola, while speaking further on the recommendations of the Southwest ministers after their visits to the region, said efforts must be made to ensure that the outcome of the investigation was made public with a view to achieving closure on the matter.
He said that they also urged government to restore confidence in the police, boost the morale among the officers of men and women and, improve their welfare, while tracking the ongoing reforms being undertaken in the police force.
He said the ministers also urged the Federal Government to consider, through the federal ministry of health, issues of substance abuse amongst the populace and propose solutions as it potentially affects mental health.