Former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu on Sunday speaks on attacks on Television Continental, TVC and The Nation newspaper, two media organisations linked to him during the orgy of violence and looting that followed alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters in Lekki area of Lagos.
Yet to be identified armed arsonists had forcefully gained entrance to the premises of the two media organisations and set the ablaze last Wednesday.
The ensuing fire consumed the building, equipment, vehicles and other valuables in the premises of the two media organisations.
However, the two media organisations have resumed operations.
In an article on Sunday, Tinubu said those who set fire on the buildings and facilities of the two media organisation were ‘mostly hirelings’ of his political opponents.
He also said he had an inkling that the two media organisations will be attacked through the discussions on the social media the day before.
But he said he refused to beef up security at their premises because he wanted to avoid blood shed.
He said, “On the other hand, I am, indeed, a promoter and financial investor in the Nation newspaper and TVC. It was widely known and circulated through social media that certain malevolent elements were going to take advantage of the situation to attack the Nation newspaper facilities and TVC in Lagos.
“The attackers came. Both facilities were significantly damaged. Although equipped with prior notice of the imminent trespass, I did not call any one to seek or request for the army or police to deploy let alone attack, kill, or injure those who razed and vandalized these properties. I did not want any bloodshed.
“These elements, mostly hirelings of my political opponents, wreaked their havoc and destroyed those buildings and facilities and I thank God that the employees of these two media institutions managed to escape largely unharmed.
“There is a deeper truth involved here. Burned buildings and damaged equipment can be rebuilt or replaced. There is no adequate substitute for the loss of even a single human life. I am not one to encourage violence. I abhor it. Thus I did nothing that might endanger lives, even the lives of those who destroyed my properties.”
While he confirmed that he is the promoter of the two media organisations, Tinubu however denied ownership of the Lekki tollgate as alleged by some #EndSARS protesters and some of those he described as his political opponents.
He therefore dismissed the rumours that he ordered the shooting at Lekki tollgate because he was losing money because the #EndSARS protesters occupied the facility.
“The slander aimed at me is based on the untruth that I own the toll gate concession. The hate mongers prevaricate that I ordered the Lekki assault because the protests had caused me to lose money due to the interruption of toll gate activity.
“Minus this alleged ownership, the slander employed against me falls to the ground as a heavy untruth. I ask people to thoroughly investigate the matter of my alleged ownership of the toll gate.
By seeking facts, instead of being swayed by gossip, you will find I have no ownership interest or involvement in the toll gate.
“Having no business interests in the operation, my income remains unchanged whether one or 100,000 vehicles pass through that gate.
Indeed, Tinubu proposed in the article that the toll gate should be left closed for an indefinite period given recent events in the area.
He added that if the toll gate is reopened, revenues should be donated to the confirmed victims of the Lekki attack as well as to other identifiable victims of police brutality in Lagos: “Let government use the money to compensate and take care of those who have lost life or limb in the struggle for all citizens to go about the quiet, peaceful enjoyment of life without fear of undue harassment at this or that checkpoint.”
“Why would I be so moved as to instigate the army to attack peaceful, law-abiding people at the toll gate where I have no pecuniary stake, yet lift not a single finger to stop hired miscreants bent on setting fire to these important media investments?
“The allegations against me make no sense because they are untrue. They are parented by those seeking to stoke and manipulate the people’s anger in order to advance political objectives that have nothing to do with the subject matter of the protests,” he queried.
-PM News: By Ayorinde Oluokun