Senate Seeks 1% VAT to Compensate Riot-ravaged States

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There was an uproar on the floor of the Senate yesterday as senators debated a motion seeking to compensate states wracked by the violence associated with the recent #ENDSARS protests.

The Senate, after the debate asked the federal government to reserve one percent of VAT proceeds for Lagos and other states badly hit by the violence.

However, the two senators from Lagos State, which was the most affected by the violence, Senators Oluremi Tinubu and Olamilekan Adeola, did not contribute to the debate.

While Tinubu sat all through the time the debate lasted, Adeola, left the chamber and didn’t return until deliberation on the #EndSARS motion had ended.

The Senate in its resolution called on the federal government to set aside one per of VAT proceeds as compensation for Lagos and other affected states.

It also asked the government to set up a visitation panel to evaluate the extent of damage in the affected states.

It mandated its Committee on State and Local Government Affairs to ensure compliance by the panel.

The Senate resolutions were sequel to the adoption of two motions moved by Senator Olujimi Abiodun and Senator Gershom Bassey calling on the National Assembly to compensate states affected by the crises.

In their arguments, the two senators disclosed that large-scale destruction of public and private property, including police stations and other public facilities, and the residence of a serving and former lawmaker in Lagos and Cross River States, occurred during the violence.

Olujimi lamented the extent of destruction suffered by the South-west and Lagos State in particular.

She said private and public assets destroyed by hoodlums in Lagos were estimated to be over N1 trillion by the state Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Bassey also lamented the crisis in Cross River State, saying that “it is unfortunate that what started as a peaceful protest was hijacked by hoodlums, unleashing terror on innocent citizens.”

However, the debate took a different dimension when Senator Sani Musa (Niger East) said the compensation should include states suffering from banditry and Boko Haram attacks.

Musa, in his contribution, said: “Any intervention by the government should be holistic and not restricted to Lagos State or Calabar.”

Other senators also said their states should be compensated.

Senator Abdullahi Adamu said any legislative motion on #ENDSARS will be prejudicial to the outcome of the judicial tribunals set up by states.

He suggested that the Senate should wait for the outcome of the tribunals.

On his part, the former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, stated that the nation has not done enough to create jobs for the youth.

Senator Christopher Ekpenyong noted that politicians, especially the executive and the legislators, are fond of using the youth during electioneering and abandoning them after the election.

In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, said there was a need to do more to provide better economic conditions for youth employment.

He added that the Senate needs to support security agencies to ensure the enforcement of law and order.