Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said that over 5,000 persons have lost their jobs to the protest against xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa.
It may be recalled that Nigerians had staged anti-xenophobia protests across the nation, during which business outfits perceived to belong to South Africa were attacked.
A press release signed by Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, stated that Sanwo-Olu spoke on Saturday when he visited some of the shopping malls that were attacked in Ajah and Surulere.
“These are jobs where Nigerians are the ones that have been affected. So, we need to be able to take the lessons out of this, be stronger together and be able to take corrective measures to ensure that things like these should certainly not repeat itself in our community,” the Governor said.
He also described Lagos State as a safe haven for business and investments, noting that the recent attacks on malls in the wake of xenophobic reprisals by “some hoodlums” is reprehensible and condemnable.
He ordered security personnel to step up protection of all facilities so as to prevent them from further attacks.
The governor, who was at Sangotedo and Surulere Shoprite malls and stores to have a first-hand assessment on the level of destruction of the facilities, described the incidents as “enormous.”
Speaking to journalists after a tour of the malls, Sanwo-Olu said it was sad that several shops and organisations belonging to Nigerians were affected in these mindless attacks.
He said: “We have seen the amount of enormous destruction in both plazas and the first thing is to condemn in strong terms whatever could have led to this. It is an extensive destruction of people’s property.
“As a government, we have come out to condemn this and to assure business community that ease of doing business is paramount to us and security of lives and property is part of the to-do list for us.
“We are charging our security operatives to stop at nothing, to ensure that they keep all of these facilities safe and secure.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu noted that although this xenophobic act took place in South Africa, Nigerians are the ones feeling the hardship and should move to stop such occurrence, while stating that thousands of workers from these businesses have suffered losses as a result of these attacks.
“In both malls, over 5,000 people are out of jobs. These are jobs where Nigerians are the ones that have been affected.
“So, we need to be able to take the lessons out of this, be stronger together and be able to take corrective measures to ensure that things like these should certainly not repeat itself in our community.”a
Sanwo-Olu also advised business owners to build positive engagements with their communities so as to be acceptable by the people.
He said Lagosians in turn should see such organisations as part of them and equally own and protect them against attacks such as these.