Kwara State governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, has presented cheques totalling N180.8 million to 48 business owners whose shops were looted during the October EndSARS protest in Ilorin, the state capital.
The cheques in varying amounts are non-refundable grants.
The government had in November engaged an independent insurance adjuster and empanelled an 11-person committee, including civic groups and representative of the business owners, to fact-check claims submitted by 342 businesses who filled an online form to benefit from a N500m SME Recovery Fund established to support the victims.
Of the 342 firms that registered, only 64 turned up for verification out of which the committee established 48 for compensation while eight injured vigilantes manning the looted Cargo Terminal were also captured for some support.
The governor presented cheques to all the affected businesses on Wednesday in the Ilorin, with the highest beneficiary getting a grant of N17 million, the middle earner getting N15 million and the lowest getting N100,000 as recommended by the adjuster and the committee.
“We really sympathise with you and we regret that such a thing ever happened to businesses. We do not have the capacity to give you everything you have lost but this is our token of support to encourage you not to give up,” AbdulRazaq remarked just before handing them their cheques.
Deputy Governor and Chairman State SME Recovery Fund Kayode Alabi, who was represented by the Acting General Manager Kwara State Social Investment Programme Mohammed Brimah, said the occasion was in fulfillment of the government’s pledge to support affected business operators.
“Let me congratulate Your Excellency and the entire citizens of Kwara State for this laudable feat by taking the bold step to reduce the suffering of the affected shop owners occasioned by #EndSARS protest. This is in line with avowed commitment of the present administration to create enabling environment and eliminate all forms of constraints especially the SMEs in the state,” he said.
He said the step of the government will help to boost public confidence in the administration.