Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Saturday visited facilities destroyed at Shoprite malls at Sangotedo and Surulere areas of the state during the reprisal against xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, describing the level of destruction as unfortunate and enormous, even as he disclosed that over 5000 staffs of the affected malls had been forced out of job.
The governor also disclosed that he would in few days meet the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to know the fate of the 125 suspects arrested during the violence.
The governor, who was accompanied by his executive members, including the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso; his counterpart in Commerce and Industries, Hon. (Mrs.) Lola Akande, among others to the affected malls, Novare Lekki, in Sangotedo and the other one in Surulere, disclosed that the malls were looted overnight and property worth millions of naira carted away.
Sangotedo plaza, which is the largest, witnessed the biggest looting and high-level destruction out of the two visited by Sanwo-Olu and his team, with the governor saying that the attack was condemnable and unfortunate notwithstanding “whatever must have led to it.”
“When people come into a store overnight to loot the goods, it is an act that must be condemned. For instance, in the Mall we are (Surulere), over 2,000 staffs are now out of job. Also, at the Lekki Mall, over 3000 staffs are also affected by this act. These are places that Nigerians are the ones affected more.
“Unfortunately, during my inspection of both plazas, I discovered that those affected were all indigenous stores and companies. Even the names that are synonymous with South African, I could see that there were several staffs that could perform their duties because of the act,” the governor said.
This was just as he stressed that business owners should engage in strong interaction with their host communities in order to prevent future occurrence.
According to him, when business owners engaged in activities that create social inclusion between them and the host communities, residents would protect rather than vandalize their businesses, adding that business owners needed to engage in strong interaction with the community where they do business as that would make the people attach some significant to the brands concerning what that brand had done for them in their communities.
“We need to have our business owners embark on a lot of engagement with their local communities. Business owners need to engage in strong interaction with the community where they do business.
“This will make the people to attach some significant to the brands as it concerns what that brand has done for them in their communities. That brand then becomes something that one relates with.
“The residents will know that this is the brand that has taken people out of poverty and other things done for them to develop.
“All these kind of social interactions need to come so that when people remember those brands; they will remember them for the positive thing they had done for them. So that when the residents remember the brand, they remember the positive things that they have done for the community,” Governor Sanwo-Olu said.