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Months After, FCT Minister Yet To Redeem Promise As Victims Of #EndSARS Thug Violence Rue Losses

FCT Minister Mohammed Musa Bello

Traders in Abuja whose properties were destroyed by thugs in the aftermath of the historic #EndSARS protests have accused FCT minister, Mohammed Bello, of not redeeming his promise.

The minister had last October promised to compensate victims of the attacks when he visited the affected areas within Abuja metropolis.

On October 19, hoodlums suspected to be pro-government supporters hijacked the peaceful protests against decades of police brutality in some parts of the country’s capital city.

The attacks led to the death of a number of residents as well as the destruction of properties worth billions of naira.

Apo and Duste axis within the city metropolis recorded the highest casualty and damages of properties.

Cars burnt in Abuja during the EndSARS protest

On November 5, the minister set up a committee to compensate victims who incurred losses during the attack.  

Speaking to Peoples Gazette Tuesday, Abdulfatai Afolabi, a car dealer in Apo Mechanic Village said the committee are yet to communicate the modalities for compensation promised by the minister over two months ago.

Mr. Afolabi who is the chairman of AA motors said his loss during the fracas was to the tune of N75 million.
The Gazette had reported how the distraught car dealer’s mart was razed. 18 vehicles were burnt while 25 others were vandalised.

He appealed to the FCT minister to redeem his promise to him and other traders affected by the crisis.

“We appealed to the government the day the incident occured. Two days later, our hope brightened up when the minister paid us a visit and promised to compensate us. 

“We highlighted our losses to him and the committee he set up to lodge our complaints.

“Since that time, we have not heard anything, nobody told us where to go, nobody gave us any information about the payment.”

“The situation of our lives is getting terrible everyday, because that is the means of our livelihood.” Mr. Afolabi said.
Cars set ablaze during the EndSARS protest in Apo, Abuja.

Like Mr. Afolabi, the Chairman of Apo-Pigbasama Market Association, Umar Buda told the Gazette that the committee is yet to communicate the modalities for compensation despite accessing the huge losses recorded in their community.

Mr. Buda disclosed that they submitted a comprehensive list of victims whose properties were destroyed by the assailants.

The list seen by Gazette showed that 69 shops, 11 rooms, 11 restaurant, two mosques and a POS stand was set alight by the assailants in Pigbasamawa, a suburb in Apo during the October 19 attack.

“The committee visited us and notable personalities that accompanied them are; Phillip Aduda, senator representing FCT, Abuja Municipal Area Council Chairman, and District head of Garki Area council amongst others.

“They promised to compensate us for the losses incurred by our members. Since last November, we’ve not heard from the committee and nobody has contacted us,” Mr. Buda told Gazette in Hausa.

Tri-cycle riders, popularly known as Keke Napep, who also incurred losses during the attacks decry government’s inability to compensate some of their members who lost their lives and means of livelihood.

Yusuf Kabiru, Chairman Keke Napep Association, Kabusa junction, disclosed that the assailants killed one of their members, identified as Abdul Kabiru, and blazed 14 Tri-cycles during the attacks.

He noted that his association and other associations whose members incurred losses within the metropolis had submitted their complaints to the government.

“We forwarded all our losses to the committee set up by the minister last year November till now we’ve not heard anything from them.

“The whole incident happened in front of armed police officers who showed little or no effort to rescue us from the hoodlums,” Mr. Mohammed said.
Reacting to the allegation, Abbas Idris, DG, FCT Emergency Management Agency, and chairman of the committee in a telephone interview with the Gazette Tuesday evening, said he has submitted all the complaints by the victims to the minister two-weeks after his committee was inaugurated.

“We have submitted our report, it is the honourable minister that will come out with a black and white paper on the modalities for compensation.

“The minister even commended us for submitting the report within the stipulated time given to us. The committee does not have powers to map out the modalities,” Mr Idris said.

The spokesperson for the FCT minister, Abubakar Sani declined speaking to the Gazette when contacted on telephone for comments. He said our reporter should channel his question to the committee chairman.

In October 2020, Nigeria youths staged a nationwide protest against decades of police brutality and called for the disbandment of the notorious Special Anti Robbery (SARS) unit.

The protest went on peacefully for days before it was hijacked by thugs which resulted in the deaths of scores of citizens including security operatives across the states including Abuja.

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