November 24, 2020

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#EndSARS: We lost over N2bn in Abuja, say traders, NGOs

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By Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) FCT Chapter, members of the Apo Mechanic Traders Association and a Non-Government Organization, Shelter Initiative for African Women have tendered a claim of about N2.5b billion as cumulative losses they suffered when hoodlums looted and vandalized facilities during and after the #EndSARS protests in Abuja.

They made the claims on Tuesday when their representatives appeared before the FCT Ministerial Committee on Assessment of Damages headed by Idris Abass to verify claims from bodies that were badly impacted by the looting.

Chairman of MAN FCT Chapter, Odun Emasealu estimated that property valued at N1.5 billion was vandalized by hoodlums at the Idu Industrial Estate, Abuja.

He said 12 factories were damaged by miscreants while four warehouses belonging to the association were looted.

Emasealu said specialized machinery and equipment were totally damaged while the physical structure of the building was seriously impacted.

Read Also: #ENDSARS: Police clampdown on looters, recover more items

He lamented it would be difficult to recover what was destroyed at the estate as the cost of the equipment to be replaced would have gone astronomical from the time it was set up to the present time.

“A lot of affected members have been coming to us and there is hope because of this committee that there will be some intervention by the government. We expect to have protection in that place because we can’t imagine it happening on a larger scale right now,” he said.

However, when asked by the secretary of the committee, he admitted that there was no general insurance cover for all the factories as insurance premium for factories could cost N20million.

Another affected group, the Apo Traders Association, which mechanic workshop was razed by hoodlums, said two of their members, Luka Bitrus Ganklin and Elisha Ayuba were killed during the riot.

The association secretary Okhueleigbe Desmond, said that properties particularly cars and block molding equipment that belonged to the members, were burnt.

The Apo traders demanded N932 million as compensation for property lost in the crisis. Apart from cars brought for repairs, they said two warehouses that stocked cement and spare part were also burned.

Shelter Initiative for Africa Women said that palliatives stored in its warehouse and other commodities for sales, including electronics items meant for the estate, were looted.

The NGO put the value of goods looted at N129 million.

The Chairman, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Ministerial Assessment Committee on #EndSARS protest Damages, Idris Abbas, called on the business community within the territory, especially Manufacturers in Idu Industrial Area, to always insure their businesses with credible Insurance organisations.

Abbas noted that insurance companies can always provide succour when government is unable to compensate adequately for loses.

He noted that the Minister was disturbed by the level of looting and destruction that followed the EndSARS protest.

Abbas said the option of taking insurance covers for businesses against unforeseen circumstance.

He noted that while the government would always encourage businesses to grow in the Territory, economic crunch might make it impossible for governments to adequately compensate for losses.