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 on the inability of the police to stop the looting, the Federal Capital Territory Police Command spokesperson, ASP 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, the Taraba State Government has imposed a curfew on Jalingo following the invasion of its warehouses and other stores in the state by some residents.
The Deputy Governor, 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 the police and personnel of the 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.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Suleiman Nguroje, who confirmed the breach of storehouse, said the Commissioner of Police, 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.
The 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, 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 business.
A resident of Isolo, Peter Osagie, said that he decided not to take his family to church because of the tension in the state.
“I was lucky to escape from the miscreants on Thursday. I had to part with over N5,000 to buy my way out of trouble before I could get home. The fear of the situation made my family to avoid going to church on Sunday. My office has sent email to all staff to work from home for now,” he said.
One killed in Ibadan as youths resist police station burning
One person was feared killed in Ibadan, the 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, Olugbenga Fadeyi, could not be reached as of the time of filing this report, the Director-General, Operation Burst, Col. Oladipo Ajibola (retd.), 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 the University College Hospital and other health institutions across the state to prevent vandals’ attack.
Meanwhile, the 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, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, 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 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 Senator Ajibola Basiru, 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 the 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, 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.
The 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, 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 the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, 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.”
Looted palliatives in Kaduna warehouse poisonous – Govt
The Kaduna State Government has warned against the consumption of COVID-19 palliatives looted from various locations in Kaduna on Saturday by hoodlums.
The hoodlums had stormed a property allegedly belonging to the state Commissioner for Planning and Budget, Thomas Gyang, and looted foodstuffs meant for distribution to residents during the COVID-19 lockdown.
But Gyang denied ownership of the property located on Tanko Tete Road, off Gwari Avenue, Barnawa, Kaduna South Local Government Area of the state, which was said to have housed two trucks of palliative foods meant for the Chikun Local Government Area of the state.
The items include sugar, noodles and spaghetti, among others, with COVID-19 palliative inscription on them.
On Sunday, the government stated that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control had updated it about the looted items.
The Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, stated this in a statement titled: ‘KDSG warns on health risks from drugs and grains looted in Kaduna’.
He said, “The looted items include expired, prohibited and dangerous drugs. Persons, who consume such drugs, are at great risk of serious illness and death.
“The management of a food processing company, whose stores were looted in Kakuri, has also disclosed that the stolen grains have been treated with chemical preservatives, which render them unsafe for consumption.
“Residents of Kaduna State are hereby notified to be vigilant and careful about the source of the food and medication they take and where they buy them to avoid these dangers.
“The Kaduna State Government appeals to the public for information on the identities of the looters and where they might be hiding the stolen items.”
Meanwhile, the State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria has appealed to its members to comply with the curfew imposed by the state government.
The state Chairman of CAN, Rev. John Hayab, stated this in a statement titled: ‘Kaduna CAN calls Christians in the state to remain calm’.
He lamented the 24-hour curfew in some LGAs had been extended to all the 23 LGAs in the state as a result of the current attack on private and government property, including looting of warehouses.
Hayab, however, gave an assurance that the leadership of the association would find ways to reach out to the government in an attempt to short circuit the curfew.
Palliatives in warehouses, evidence Buhari isn’t our problem – Daughter
A daughter of the President, Zahra Buhari-Indimi, says the discovery of food items and other COVID-19 palliatives in several warehouses across the country is evidence that her father, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) is not Nigeria’s problem.
Zahra said this in an Instagram post on Sunday.
She wrote, “Now that people confirmed that Buhari distributed enough palliatives nationwide, it is clear Buhari is not our problem.”
Thousands of Nigerians have in the last few days plundered warehouses in several states including Lagos, Plateau, Osun and Kwara in the wake of the COVID-19 protests.
In some instances, COVID-19 palliatives donated by the private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19, were found in private homes of politicians.
Some of the items include cartons of noodles, sacks of garri and bags of rice, some of which had spoilt due to poor and prolonged storage.
In Osun, the state government said it was waiting for officials from Abuja to come “commission” the goods hence the delay in distributing them, while in Lagos, the Majority Leader of the House of Assembly, S. O. B. Agunbiade, said he kept the palliatives in his Ikorodu home because he wanted to distribute them on his birthday.
SERAP wants ICPC to probe state officials for hoarding COVID-19 palliatives
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has called for the prosecution of officials in different states, including Lagos and Osun, who are responsible for the hoarding of foodstuffs and others palliative materials donated to the government for onward distribution to the poor during the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic earlier in the year.
SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oludare, said in a statement on Sunday that the group had sent a petition to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, demanding an investigation and prosecution of state officials, who hoarded the palliative materials in warehouses rather than distribute them to the people.
Oludare said the petition followed reports of discovery of large volumes of COVID-19 palliatives in warehouses in several states, including Cross River, Edo, Ekiti, Kwara, Kaduna, Lagos, Osun, Plateau and Taraba, by rampaging mobs in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests.
SERAP said, “It would seem that Nigerian authorities asked people to stay at home as a protective lockdown measure, but then failed to discharge a legal responsibility to timely, effectively, and transparently distribute COVID-19 palliatives to ease the hardship faced by the poorest and most vulnerable people.”
The group added that it found it disturbing that despite getting donations from individuals and corporate bodies, locally and internationally, officials in several states denied many citizens the much-needed support during the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It said, “SERAP notes that billions of naira have been budgeted and donated to respond to COVID-19 and help ease the resulting impact and hardship on the poorest and most vulnerable people. Nigeria has also received millions of dollars in international aid and announced programmes to help citizens through the lockdown, including direct distribution of food to millions of vulnerable households.
“We urge the ICPC to visit the states where COVID-19 palliatives have been discovered in warehouses, and to track and monitor the distribution of palliatives across the 36 states of the country, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to remove the risks of diversion and ensure that the palliatives get to those most in need and not used for political or corrupt purposes.”
Emmanuel imposes dusk-to-dawn curfew in Akwa Ibom
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has announced an indefinite dusk-to-dawn curfew from 8pm to 7am in the state effective from Sunday, October 25, 2020.
The governor, in a statement by his Information Commissioner, Ini EmemObong, said the curfew became necessary to sustain the peace that had returned after the expiration of the earlier one imposed on Thursday.
The statement read in part, “Though normalcy has returned to the entire state, especially, Uyo, after the expiration of the curfew, which was imposed from Thursday night till Saturday morning, there is a prevailing need to sustain the gains of the curfew by increased strategic surveillance and holistic law enforcement.
“That the recovery of looted items currently being executed by the police is the result of the cooperation and collaboration of informants from the communities.
“To this end, the governor has directed that effective today (Sunday), a daily dusk-to-dawn (8pm – 7am) curfew be imposed state-wide till further notice to help check the movement of the remnants of the undesirable elements, who created chaos in our state a few days ago.
“It is also the governor’s directive, gleaned from the agreement by all youth groups in the state, that all demonstrations and protests be suspended forthwith.”
Reps make a U-turn on IG’s summons
The House of Representatives has suspended its plan to grill the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, over the #EndSARS protests.
The police boss had failed to appear before the panel set up by the House on Thursday.
The ad hoc committee set up by the House on the nationwide protests against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force had on October 15, 2020, summoned Adamu.
The IG was to appear before the panel on October 22, 2020.
The Chairman of the joint committee, Ugonna Ozurigbo, said the meeting with the police boss had been suspended indefinitely, adding that the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN); and the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Anthony Ojukwu, among others, had been written to forward memoranda.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that Nigerians killed before, during and after the #EndSARS protests must get justice. While sympathising with Nigerians from all parts of the country as a result of the killings, he stated that the unity of the country remained non-negotiable.
Gbajabiamila said this when he paid a visit to sympathise with the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; former governor and national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; and Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, on Sunday.
According to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, titled: ‘Gbajabiamila visits Sanwo-Olu, Akiolu, Tinubu, Sympathises with Nigerians Over Tragedies…says House Ready to Support Lagos, Other Affected States’, the Speaker said the destruction caused by the protests was “a very sad event that should not occur again in the history of Nigeria.”
The Speaker was quoted to have expressed sadness over the wanton destruction of property and the devastation after he and members of his team watched a documentary on the incident.
In a related development, the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, has appealed to Nigerian youths to be calm and not to take the law into their own hands.
In a statement issued on Sunday by his Chief Press Secretary, Umar Puma, titled, ‘#EndSARS Protests: Don’t Take Laws into Your Hands, Wase Appeals to Plateau Youth’, the Deputy Speaker urged the youth, particularly in Plateau State, to give peace a chance.
Wase said the federal and state governments as well as the National Assembly would do everything within their powers to ensure that their demands were met.
No COVID-19 warehouse near my residence – Ekiti dep gov
The Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, has opened the gate of his house for the filming of the premises.
Egbeyemi, who said the opposition was behind the fake news that there was a COVID-19 warehouse near his residence, said there was nothing like the “photoshopped” photograph around there.
The deputy governor, in a statement titled: ‘No COVID-19 warehouse near my residence, says Ekiti Deputy Governor’, said, “That is why I opened my gate and my house for the premises to be filmed as a proof that I don’t have COVID-19 materials in my house.
“The opposition members are behind this fake news. You can see what is in the mini hall in my house where I meet people. You can see the chairs, tables, disused air conditioners that were brought from my flooded hotel for everybody to see.
“I personally bought and distributed palliatives to all the wards in Ado Ekiti and townspeople, materials like rice, beans and garri, which I distributed during the COVID-19 lockdown, which I purchased with my personal money.
“I urge members of the public to disregard this fake news.”
Egbeyemi, who said he was not connected with COVID-19 palliatives in his capacity as the deputy governor, said, “The COVID-19 palliatives that were given to me more than three months ago during the lockdown were shared to residents of Ado Ekiti, its adjoining villages and farmsteads. There is no single bag of COVID-19 materials in my house.”
Kwara gov announces N500m support fund for looted businesses
Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, has announced a N500m fund to assist private business owners whose facilities were looted by hoodlums in Ilorin last Friday.
According to a statement by Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye, AbdulRazaq also condemned the mindless looting of people’s businesses, insisting that there could be no justification for such criminal behaviour during an inspection of some of the looted shopping malls on Saturday.
Some of the private enterprises affected are Shoprite and Femtech, among others, while the Ilorin Airport’s cargo terminal and agro mall warehouses, where the government stored COVID-19 palliatives were also affected.
The governor, who commiserated with owners of all the affected businesses, said the special fund was part of his administration’s efforts to bring them back on their feet following the incident.
“We are therefore not going to leave the business owners like that. We are setting up a N500m fund for those that were affected to access. The application form is live and active on the state government’s website and can now be filled by interested parties. We are going to get them back as soon as possible,” he said.
The Nigeria Union of Journalists, the National Association of League of Veteran Journalists and the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations have condemned the invasion of public and private facilities and businesses and looting of food items and electronics appliances in Ilorin.
The Kwara State Working Committee of the NUJ in a statement said that it was disturbed by the news of an attack on a private newspaper in the state, the National Pilot, on Asa Dam Road, Ilorin on Friday.
The state chapter of the NIPR also expressed displeasure over the descent of the peaceful protests to anarchy, arson, bloodshed and looting.
Also, the state council of NALVEJ decried the looting of both public and private property in Ilorin by some miscreants, especially the attack on the National Pilot.
Ebonyi command confirms cop’s death, burning of four stations
The Ebonyi State Police Command has said it lost one of its officers on Saturday morning to the ongoing crisis.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Philip Maku, confirmed this to one of our correspondents in a telephone interview on Sunday, saying four police stations were also burnt down by the protesters.