Kwara State Government on Thursday presented cheques of varying amounts of (non-refundable) grants to 48 businesses whose shops were looted by hoodlums in Ilorin, Kwara State Capital, October this year.
Presenting the cheques to the beneficiaries, Kwara State Governor, AbdulRaham AbdulRazaq said: “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.”
He said the government is always willing to help businesses to grow as part of its efforts to build an economy outside of the civil service that is currently the biggest labour demographics in the state.
The representative of the beneficiaries, Ahmad Lawal commended the government for the prompt intervention and for acceding to the requests of the affected business owners.
“We thank you immensely for your empathy and the fatherly role that you have played in ensuring that those businesses who were affected during the EndSARS protests get back to their feet. We were at your office a few days after the incident and, surprisingly, all of our prayers were accepted by you. That is what is culminating into what we are having here today,” he said.
Recall that in November, Kwara State Government 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 the N500m SME Recovery Fund established to support looted businesses.
However, of the 342 firms who registered, only 64 turned up for verification out of whom the committee selected 48 for compensation while 8 injured vigilantes manning the looted Cargo Terminal were also captured for some support.
The N180,775,000 grant was disbursed based on the recommendations of the adjuster and the committee led by the Deputy Governor, Mr Kayode Alabi.
Grants accrued to beneficiaries range from N17 million to N100,000.