Monday, 26 October 2020 05:47

Looting Covid-19 palliatives continued nationwide through the weekend. Here’s how it all happened

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The looting of warehouses for the storage of Covid-19 palliative items spread to the Federal Capital Territory as well as Adamawa and Kogi states on Sunday, with looters making away with foodstuffs and other items.

In Abuja, warehouses at the Idu Industrial Estate, Jabi, were attacked by some persons.

This happened 24 hours after looters were prevented from raiding a warehouse where Covid-19 palliatives were kept at Area 10, Garki.

Armed policemen on guard duty at the Garki warehouse fired gunshots in the air and chased away the youth.

In the latest incident, the youth in their thousands as well as middle-aged men and women, stormed the warehouses and made away with bags of Basmati rice, cartons of cereals and tin tomatoes, bales of clothing and Ankara materials, and every other item they could find.

The looters scaled the fence and broke down the doors of the warehouses despite the presence of armed policemen, who fired teargas canisters.

One of our correspondents, who witnessed the incident reports, that scores of motorcycles and tricycles rushed to the scene to ferry the looted items away. Some taxis and buses were also at the scene to take away the looted items.

Many individuals, who could not access the warehouses on account of the teargas, assaulted others and snatched items from them.

A youth also stabbed a woman in the hand and made away with one of the bags she was carrying.

Speaking with our correspondent on the inability of the police to stop the looting, Federal Capital Territory Police Command spokesperson, Ms Mariam Yusuf, said the operatives were working to contain the ongoing attack on public and public property using reasonable force.

She explained that the police were handling the lawlessness by some miscreants with tact to avoid loss of lives and injuries.

14 killed during looting of Kogi, Adamawa, Taraba palliative warehouses

No fewer than six persons were feared dead and scores injured in a stampede at the Taraba State Government warehouse in Jalingo as hoodlums broke into it to steal Covid-19 palliative items.

Eyewitnesses told one of our correspondents on Sunday that six corpses were moved to the mortuary early in the morning.

The eyewitness stated, “We took about six bodies to the Federal Medical Centre’s morgue between yesterday (Saturday) and the early hours of today (Sunday).

“There is hunger in the land and thousands of people moved in to get the food palliatives and unfortunately, some died in the process.

“This is what the government wants by refusing to share the items.”

Meanwhile, Taraba State Government has imposed a curfew on Jalingo following the invasion of its warehouses and other stores in the state by some residents.

Deputy Governor, Mr Haruna Manu, announced this in a state-wide broadcast in Jalingo on Saturday.

Manu said the curfew would run from 11pm on Saturday to 8am on Monday (today) when the government would review the situation.

Despite the curfew, hoodlums continued the looting spree on Sunday and police and personnel of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps had to fire gunshots to disperse them.

The hoodlums vandalised the permanent site of the National Youth Service Corps orientation camp, which houses a 100-bed Covid-19 isolation centre in the state.

Beds, fans, mattresses and other valuables were stolen from the centre, leaving the NYSC camp empty.

At the Essential Drugs and Taraba State University Skill Acquisition Training centres, hoodlums, including women and children, were seeing moving out items before the combined team of the police and NSCDC arrived and started shooting in the air to disperse them.

Similarly, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State has imposed a 24-hour dusk-to-dawn curfew on the state following the vandalism of government property by hoodlums, who broke into warehouses owned by the state government to steal Covid-19 palliatives.

Earlier on Sunday, there was looting of the government-owned warehouse at Kwana-waya by angry residents, who also broke into the central stores located at Barkin Kogi and looted food items there.

Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr Suleiman Nguroje, who confirmed the breach of storehouse, said the Commissioner of Police, Mr Olugbenga Adeyanju, had dispatched a team of policemen to the scene.

Four persons were reported dead in a stampede, when hundreds of people on Sunday stormed the Kogi State warehouse in Lokoja to steal the remaining palliatives there.

The warehouse located along the Murtala Mohammed Way very close to Kpata Market was invaded as early as 7am mostly women and youths, who were looking for Covid-19 palliatives.

The deceased were said to have been stepped on when the gates were thrown open for people to move in and take their share of the loot.

One of the dead victims was said to be a cripple, who could not escape when the crowd moved in.

The state government had last week commenced the distribution of the Covid-19 palliatives to all the 21 local government areas with each getting one big truck and a smaller Canter truck loaded with items such as rice, semovita, noodles and pasta.

The invasion of the warehouse followed Governor Yahaya Bello’s order that the remaining items should be distributed to the residents.

Security agents deployed in the area were civil with people as they went inside to collect their own palliatives without problems.

The state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Kingsley Fanwo, however, denied that anyone died.

“No one was killed. It is sensationalism. Media practitioners should stop killing people with their pens. There were reports of injured persons. They have been treated. Some of them are already discharged. Those journalists that reported death thought they could stir a crisis in our dear state. But they will fail. Peace will continue to reign in our state,” he stated.

Calm returns to Lagos

Calm returned to the streets of Lagos on Sunday after days of arson and looting following the curfew imposed by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Churches, however, recorded fewer number of worshippers in many parts of the state due to fear that the reign of terror by miscreants could be ignited at any time.

Police patrol teams were sighted in many strategic locations in the state as residents went about their businesses.

One killed in Ibadan as youths resist police station burning

One person was feared killed in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, on Sunday, as some youths prevented hoodlums from razing down the Mokola Police Station.

An eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said problem started when some hoodlums swooped on the station with the intention of setting it ablaze.

“However, they were met with resistance as the Mokola youths mobilised themselves and prevented the hoodlums from setting the station ablaze,” the eyewitness stated.

He said one boy was hit by stray bullets in the ensuing confusion.

It was gathered that the youth also prevented the hoodlums from stealing some police uniforms that were kept in the station.

Calm has since been restored in the area with the arrival of men of Operation Burst.

Although the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Olugbenga Fadeyi, could not be reached as of the time of filing this report, Director-General, Operation Burst, Mr Oladipo Ajibola, confirmed the incident.

He said during a programme on Splash 105.9FM that the situation had been brought under control.

Ajibola added that security had been beefed up at University College Hospital and other health institutions across the state to prevent vandals’ attack.

Meanwhile, Public Relations Office, UCH, Toye Akinrinlola, has said the heightened security in the hospital became necessary following a planned attack on the facility by hoodlums.

Stolen items: Oyetola issues 72-hour ultimatum to looters, 30 arrested

No fewer than 30 persons have been arrested in connection with the looting of government and some private property in some parts of Osun State on Saturday.

Some of the suspects were apprehended by youth volunteers in Ogo Oluwa area of Osogbo after the government had imposed a 24-hour curfew on the state to stem the rising violence.

Presenting the suspects to newsmen on Sunday in Osogbo, Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Mr Abiodun Ige, warned that the government would not condone act of lawlessness. 

She said, “The government condemns looting and destruction of property by hoodlums in some parts of the state. These suspects will be handed over to the police.

“The government will not condone looting of either government or individual property as perpetrated by these suspects. They will face the full wrath of the law.”

Meanwhile, major roads were deserted in Osogbo on Sunday as security men mounted barricades to enforce the curfew imposed on the state in the wake of attack on government and some private property in the state.

Governor Adegboyega Oyetola warned hoodlums who attacked and looted the Omoluabi Garment Factory, Abere, on Saturday, 72 hours to return all stolen items in the factory or face dire consequences.

Oyetola spoke on the premises of the factory on Sunday.

The governor, who had earlier visited the Tuns Farm, the All Progressives Congress state secretariat, the Osun Mall and the office of Ajibola Basiru, a serving senator, that were looted by hoodlums, described the action of the perpetrators as “armed robbery.”

Oyetola said all the items stolen in the garment factory could be tracked and advised the perpetrators to return them through the royal fathers of their towns or chairmen of their local government councils.

Tension as hoodlums threaten attack on Anambra 

There is palpable tension in Anambra State as hoodlums have threatened to attack Awka, the state capital today (Monday).

It was gathered that hoodlums had sent signals of the planned attack to the state government and other authorities.

It was learnt that the hoodlums were planning to mobilise from Nnewi, Ekwulobia and Onitsha to attack Awka, as they accused the #EndSARS protesters of being too weak.

Six police personnel have been killed and about 17 police stations have been burnt in Onitsha, Nnewi and Ekwulobia in the last one week.

Governor Willie Obiano confirmed the planned attack on the state by hoodlums.

He told the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mr Celestine Okoye, who visited him in Aguleri, on Sunday that he got the information from a reliable source.

The governor said, “I have directed the joint security team in the state to be on red alert.

“I call on traditional rulers, the presidents-general of communities, vigilante groups and youths to make sure that the plans of the hoodlums do not materialise.

The state police command said in a statement on Sunday by its spokesperson, Haruna Mohammed, that it had resolved to deal decisively with all acts of lawlessness, disruption of public peace and order, and wanton violence.

Hoodlums raid Rivers GSM market, steal phones, laptops, others

Traders at the popular GSM Market at the Eleme junction in the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State have cried out over the invasion of the place by hoodlums, who stole mobile phones, laptops and other accessories.

The traders said the market was looted while they were at home in obedience to the curfew imposed by the state government, adding that they were called by neighbours last Thursday that their shops had been attacked.

Chairman of the GSM Traders Union, Christopher Stanley, while addressing journalists in Port Harcourt on Saturday, said the hoodlums ransacked the market, stole and vandalised property.

Stanley wondered how the hoodlums found their way there when security agents were all over the area enforcing the curfew imposed by Governor Nyesom Wike, adding that the traders lost over N300m worth of goods.

Ayade orders house-to-house search for looted items

Cross River State Governor, Mr Ben Ayade, has asked security agents in the state to conduct a house-to-house search for items looted by hoodlums in Calabar as soldiers and other security personnel take over strategic parts of the city.

Hoodlums have been on a looting spree since Friday, while also vandalising and burning public and private property.

A statement issued by Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr Christian Ita, said Ayade also asked the security agencies to “take legitimate actions to halt the arson and carnage witnessed in some parts of Calabar.”

He stated, “The governor also wants the security agents to carry out a house-to-house search for looted property and arrest everyone involved in the looting of both public and private property in the state.

“The governor, who said he understands the pain of the people, averred that there was a need to protect the collective commonwealth of the people, which is currently under threat by some persons, who are desperately trying to discredit the peaceful disposition of Cross Riverians.”