Following the looting and burning of several shops and stores at Circle Mall, Lekki by hoodlums during the violence that trailed the recent #EndSARS protests in Lagos State , Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has promised to assist the tenants and shop owners at the mall to bounce back to business.
A statemwnt in Monday by the Chief Press Secreatry to the governor, Gboyega Akosile, said Sanwo-Olu made the pledge on Sunday during a condolence visit and meeting with tenants and shop owners at the Mall in Lekki.
The governor said Lagos State Government will give tax break and some financial assistance to all the business owners affected by the ugly incident.
Sanwo-Olu said his administration will not leave the people to bear the pains alone, noting that government will assist them to returnto their respective businesses.
“We will give all business owners in the burnt Circle Mall tax break of PAYE and also appealed to Federal Government to ensure that they get tax relief from from the Federal Internal Revenue Services (FIRS).
“We will give victims of the Circle Mall financial support, which will be in form of grant or loans to cushion the effect of the looting and destruction of their respective shops and stores,” he said.
According to Sanwo-Olu, the grant support is a non-refundable financial support to the victims.
He said the affected businesses are not expected to pay back while the lending support would be in form of a loan, adding that he is already discussing with some financial institutions to assist people with zero interest loans.
Sanwo-Olu also asked the shop owners to reach out to the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) and urged them to make use of the opportunities being provided by the agency in assisting people who are in business, especially small scale businesses.
The governor further implored people on reorientation of value system and civil responsibility, for everybody to be agent of positive change in their community and anywhere they found themselves.
Reiterating his administration’s commitment to security of lives and property in the state, Sanwo-Olu said the state will no longer tolerate hoodlums looting and destroying government and private businesses and properties.
He said though Lagos State Government cannot stop people from coming into the state, the governor warned people with criminal intentions to go elsewhere before being smoked out by the government, adding that his government is ready to encourage people who are in Lagos for business and would go extra mile to protect businesses in the state.
Earlier, the tenants at Circle Mall, thanked Sanwo-Olu for showing empathy in the face of daunting challenges. They asked him to assist them financially so as to get back on their feet.
They also appealed to Lagos State Government to strengthen security around the Circle Mall to prevent future recurrence of the two attacks they suffered in the last 13 months.
It would be recalled that some hoodlums went on rampage on Wednesday, October 21, after the #EndSARS protests were hijacked, and looted property worth billions of naira at Circle Mall and also set parts of the building ablaze.