The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has revealed that decisions had been taken for the Nigerian Ports Authority to proceed to the Federal Executive Council to ask for the reconstruction of the NPA building that was destroyed on the trail of the recent #EndSARS protest.
Amaechi said this during an assessment tour of the NPA headquarters in Lagos.
The disclosure was made in a statement issued in Abuja by his aide, Taiye Edwin, that the NPA’s request from FEC for the reconstruction of the building would depend on the structure’s integrity.
The minister also lambasted the hoodlums for destroying public properties during the protest, stressing that the culprits must be made to face the wrath of the law.
He was quoted as saying, “This is completely disastrous. It is not enough to vent your anger about police brutality in this manner. How does damaging government property concern the police?
“Whether you like it or not, this will be refurbished or rebuilt with government funds. That means the funds also belong to those who set this place ablaze.
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“In governance, those who commit crime should be held liable and appropriate punishment meted out on them.”
Amaechi argued that the right to protest was defined in the laws of Nigeria, stressing that it did not include burning people’s houses or public places.
“I was once a student, we did not take laws into our hands even when we were protesting.
“If you remember in 1983, during the time of Babangida and Buhari, we were always on the streets as students, we never took laws into our hands and we never destroyed people’s property.
“During the time of Tai Solarin, there were national protests, we partook in those protests but we didn’t take laws into our hands.
“It is legitimate to protest and illegitimate to hide under the guise of protests to destroy people’s public properties and the law does not allow closure of highways because there are other road users,” he said.
Amaechi pointed out that he believes this should not just end here because if some people are not punished, some others might want to repeat the crime in the future.