#ENDSARS Protest: $460bn nation’s GDP threatened as looting, destruction of businesses dotted Southwest

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If the massive looting of goods and wanton destruction of properties in almost all the six Southwest states are anything to go by, business and manufacturing activities will be on the verge of serious dwindling as major businesses, including Okitipupa Oil Palm Plc, Shoprite Mall, Tuns Farm, Mega Electronics Stores, Fonemart, among other businesses were heavily looted and destroyed during #ENDSARS protests.

In Lagos state, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said that about N1trillion would be required to restore the looted businesses and properties destroyed in Lagos alone, while Governor Abdurahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara state declared that several billions of naira were lost to the raids in the state, but pledged to release N500 million to cushion the negative economic effects in Kwara state.

In Ondo state, Okitipupa Oil Palm plc was attacked by the hoodlums under the guise of #ENDSARS Protest and razed down several buildings, looted several offices and carted away laptops, computers, as well as electric generators, running into N300 million as Taiwo Adewole, Chief Executive Officer of the company, Taiwo Adewole, described the action as barbaric, brutal and horrendous.

Adewole, who said management and all members of the Board of Directors were devastated by the sad development, lamented that “enemies of progress could go to this extent to visit such a dastardly and ruinous act on the company that is just being salvaged from the destruction unleashed on it by undue government interference, inept and corrupt management over the years.

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He said though management was planning to set up a team to ascertain the level of the destruction, adding that “there are certain items and consumables whose values cannot be easily quantified, however in terms of buildings and physical structures burnt and those carted away, I can put the loss at about N300million”

In Ilorin, Kwara state, some workers of Shoprite Mall located in Ilorin City Mall, the Kwara State capital, decried the recent looting of the stores by hoodlums, saying by that heinous act, they had been rendered jobless by the action of the looters.

The Mall which also hosted several other businesses such as KFC, Cold Stone, Health Plus, Fonemart, among others, were heavily looted as eyewitnesses stated that the hoodlums invaded the premises and looted everything inside the Shoprite Mall.

One of the workers who spoke to Businessday on anonymity said, “They did not only loot everything and left the store as big as it was empty, they also destroyed everything. Those people are indeed heartless and wicked. The looters destroyed the camera room of the store and went away with the gadgets to avoid being captured.

“The looting might have rendered all of us (the workers) which are about 1000 jobless. You can imagine how long it would take to restock the store. Even the hoodlums went to the backyard and broke into the containers. Also, they carted away 400 bags of flour which were just supplied to us. Our uniforms, our shoes were also taken away. I didn’t know Ilorin could be this worse, some people are even jubilating when a lot of people have been rendered jobless.”

Also, Fonemart was robbed as the Auditor of the firm, Funmi Oguniyi, who spoke on behalf of the Chief Executive of the firm, said that she and her colleagues were quite sure that the attacks were planned and executed by outsiders, saying that Ilorin is too peaceful as a community, for such a terrible incident to be perpetrated by its indigenes.

Similarly, Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun state went around the town and visited many places in Osogbo, Osun state capital, where many stores and farms were looted and properties destroyed to the tune of N5 billion.

Governor Oyetola, who visited Tuns Farm in the state where the hoodlums didn’t only loot the farm and other establishments within the factory, but also killed a staff member in the raid, pledged to arrest the perpetrators and provide compensations for the victims of the attacks and raids.

But, the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission, which is a Secretariat of the Southwest Governors’ Forum, decried looting and destruction of businesses and properties in the region which ran into several trillions of naira and thereby, threatening $460 billion value of the nation’s gross domestic product.