LAGOS State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said the task of rebuilding the infrastructure destroyed in the state during the #EndSARS protest last October will take some time to achieve.
The governor, who spoke on Thursday to State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja, said state government had begun the rebuilding process with the tasks he described as ‘low hanging’, such as providing support to small and medium scale businesses caught up in violence during the period.
He said rebuilding major infrastructure would take a longer time to achieve.
According to him, pooling resources from all possible angles and sources to tackle the task would have to be creative, coupled with the fact that the crisis that led to the destruction is still very fresh.
He, however, assured Lagosians that the administration had its priorities about achieving restoration all set out, adding that it would not fail to deliver to the people on the promise to restore Lagos back to its previous bustling state.
“It’s also some of the things I discussed with Mr. President. It’s work in progress. To take something down it takes one day, to rebuild it takes 10 years. It’s a journey, not a destination. And so it’s going to take a while. We are carefully taking a proper study to know what we need to do, taking our time to get it right, but we’ve started something.
“Businesses that were affected, some businesses that were affected: somebody having their shops looted or burnt or something. We’ve been able to directly begin to support such businesses, especially on a micro, small level, using the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.
“They have started intervening and supporting some of these small businesses, giving them grants, giving them soft loans and making sure
that they can come back together very quickly.
“The bigger, larger items around infrastructure, around transportation, they will take a fairly longer time. We’re talking about a period that is still under three months. So, it’s still a working document that we are doing right now and we also have to be very creative in how we raise the finance.
We didn’t have money anywhere, you know it was towards the end of a financial year and we’re just starting another year. So, it’s to be able to make budgetary provisions for these things and be able to raise required funding, both support from the private sector and also from the public sector, before we can begin to reconstruct some of those huge infrastructure.
“But we have them all focused and we’ll be tackling them. But the low hanging, as I said, are the small businesses that we’ve started supporting so that people can get back to life very quickly,” he said.
Speaking about the state government’s plan to manage the second wave of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Sanwo-Olu said more attention is being given to providing more oxygen to meet the need of victims of the disease who are in the critical category.
Speaking about his meeting with President Buhari, he said: “The President took very detailed notes, I was actually very happy. He gave me assurances that some of the points I have raised that I’ll be seeing some call up or follow up either through the Chief of Staff or through some of the agencies of the Federal Government. It was a very useful meeting.”