OrderPaper Today – A Senate Panel has said that property worth over N27 billion, belonging to former governors, senators, serving federal lawmakers from Cross Rivers State and others were lost during the #EndSARS protests in the state.
The Senate Joint Committee on National Security and Intelligence; Defence; Police Affairs; Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters disclosed this in a 69-page report on the mayhem visited on the City of Calabar during the EndSARS Protest on the 23rd and 24th of October, 2020.
The report of the committee, under the chairmanship of Senator Ibrahim Gobir, was considered on the floor of tcduring plenary on Wednesday.
Gobir, in his presentation, said that Investigative Hearings by the Committee revealed that the violence in Calabar metropolis during the protest which led to the looting and destruction of private and government-owned properties was “largely spontaneous with no identified goals, leaders, sponsors or financiers.”
He added that serving and former federal lawmakers from the state whose property and businesses were attacked are Senator Gershom Bassey, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw and Hon. Etta Mbora.
According to him, former Governor Donald Duke lost N200 million; former Governor Liyel Imoke, N506 million; Senator Ndoma-Egba, N1.5bn; Senator Ewa-Henshaw, N9.3bn; Bassey, N4bn; Mbora, N150 million and other victims, N12bn.
Sen. Gobir disclosed that one of the victims of the protest, Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw, who appeared before the Committee, attributed the violence to the displacement of the people of Bakassi as a result of ceding their homelands to the Republic of Cameroon; a situation which turned some of them into militants.
In addition, the committee stated that a total of forty-one (41) government properties were vandalised by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protests around Calabar Municipal and neighboring Bakassi, Odukpani, and Akpabuyo Local Government Areas of Cross River State.
Its findings revealed that at the time of the invasion of homes, the Security Agencies failed to promptly respond to distress calls from victims, adding that several victims got hint of the planned attacks before the actual acts took place.
It was also disclosed that the financial value of the vandalised property/items amounting to the tune of N73bn were submitted by the affected persons verified by a Committee that the Cross River Governor set up.
Accordingly, the Senate in its resolutions urged the Federal Government to evolve and implement holistic reforms in the Nigerian Police Force.
The Upper Chamber noted that employing more personnel, injecting more financial resources for the purpose of procuring arms, ammunition and other policing gadgets, as well undertaking regular training would ensure efficient policing in the country.
It called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to give priority in terms of security to Cross River State, considering the peculiarity of the State with a very large landmass.