INVESTIGATION: #EndSARS: ‘I beg you in the name of God,’ Wife of dead victim, others plead with FCT Minister on compensation



By Idris Ibrahim

(UPDATED) Mrs Joy was greeted with physical and emotional trauma on April 27 when she lost her husband, late Joel Irabor whose property was destroyed by thugs during the historic #EndSARS protest in Abuja.

The widow told Newsdairyonline reporter during a visit to her residence in Jubilation Bethel Estate, Lokogoma, that her husband died 5 months after losing properties worth millions of naira during the violence.

“Unfortunately my husband passed on five months after the protests. He developed High Blood Pressure (HBP) as a result of the pressure from the people he was owing money,” the distraught widow said.

The 42-year old widow and mother of two, told this newspaper that her late husband was a car dealer at AA Abdul Motors car mart in Kabusa junction.

“My late husband borrowed money from individuals to invest in car business. Unfortunately, his entire investment was burnt by hoodlums during the protest in October last year. I lost my husband few months later as a result of the shock of losing his entire investment.”

“Young and sudden death (are) not what I wish anybody not even my enemy. I am left with emotional trauma, physical trauma and challenges to go through, children’s up keep, school fees and dealing with their emotions too,” the widow explained further with tears sopping out of her eyes.

The widow who is currently faced with the economic hardships of the country, appealed to the Minister of FCT, Muhammed Bello, to redeem the promise he made to victims of the protests who lost valuable properties and loved ones.

“I am pleading with the honourable minister to help facilitate the payment quick as he has promised so I can pay some of the debtors and carry on with what is left of my life. I beg him in the name of God,” she appealed.

The Protest

In October last year, Nigerian youths staged a nationwide protests against the disbandment of a notorious unit in the police, Special-Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

The procession was peaceful across the nation until hoodlums disrupted the protests.

On October 19, armed thugs hijacked the peaceful protests against decades of police brutality in some areas in Abuja.

The attacks led to the deaths of some residents as well as the destruction of properties worth billions of naira.

Neighbourhoods within Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) in the metropolis, recorded the highest casualty and damage of properties.

• 12 Months later, Abuja victims still waiting for the Minister

The FCT minister had last year October promised to compensate victims of the #EndSARS thug violence when he visited the affected areas within Abuja metropolis two-days after the incidents.

In a swift response, Mr. Bello on November 5 set up a ministerial committee championed by Abbas Idris, Director-General of the FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to map out modalities to compensate victims of the attacks.

The minister gave the committee two weeks ultimatum to submit it report. Newsdiaryonline gathered that the 18 man committee submitted the report at the stipulated time.

However, some of the affected victims contacted by this newspaper 12 months after, disclosed that they are yet to receive any form of help from the government.

The Report

The 18- man committee in its 54-page report revealed that only one council was spared out of the six area councils in the country’s capital city.

According to a Daily Trust report, the committee noted that the damage in the aftermath of the attack amounted to the sum of N4.8 billion.

Destruction of properties at AMAC was valued at N4.6 billion, but the committee recommended the sum of N2.2 billion be paid as compensation for victims.

Furthermore, the 18-man squad valued the destruction in Bwari Area Council at N12.3 million but recommended payment of N46 million because the team was unable to capture the market value of some items. In Kuje Area Council, N124.6 million was submitted, while N33.4 million was recommended.

While Gwagwalada saw the destruction of over N2billion, the sum of N7.5m was recommended. For Kwali Area Council, N215.8m was recommended.

Business Owners Still Count Losses One Year After

Ezenwa Oriji a car dealer at Apo-Mechanic Village recount how thugs burnt and vandalised his source of livelihood in October last year’s protest.

Narrating his ordeal, the distraught business man told Newsdiaryonline reporter that 11 of his second-hand vehicles worth over N18 million for sale, were destroyed by thugs during the protests.

Mr. Orji said his hopes were rekindled when the FCT minister visited days after the attacks and promised to compensate them.

“We were happy when the minister came and he promised to pay us in due time. One year after, nothing has been done. (Anytime) we make inquiry about the payment, they kept telling us that the thing is in process,” he said.

“As I’m talking to you now, to feed has become a major problem. One year after, we have not heard or seen the handwork of our honourable minister” he added.

The Chairman of Keke Napep Association, Kabusa-Galadimawa, Kabir Yusuf told Newsdiaryonline in Hausa that 14 tricycles were burnt by hoodlums during the violence.

Mr. Yusuf further disclosed that they lost one of their members during the October 19 attacks. He said they are yet to receive any form of compensation of the FCT minister despite all the promise he made.

When contacted, the FCT minister’s media aide, Sani Abubakar directed our reporter to contact the FCT FEMA Office.”Ok, please go to FCT FEMA Office at AYA.Thanks,” he wrote in his reply”.