Irate youths in Jos the Plateau State capital, and Bukuru, another neighbouring Local Government Area, on Saturday morning looted and carried away COVID-19 palliatives stored there with the State Government on denying that it was hoarding the palliatives.
The denial by the state government came hours after the youths overpowered security operatives stationed at the warehouses and carted away the foodstuffs allegedly stored there as COVID-19 palliatives.
As early as 6 am, the hungry-looking residents of Jos and Bukuru metropolis started arriving at the vicinity of Nigerian Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Warehouse along Bukuru Road and other warehouses owned by the state government.
The looters dared armed policemen on duty before entering the warehouses by force.
The armies of the red-eyed looking youths cutting across tribe and religion including elderly men and women in a commando fashion overpowered the security operatives before, they quickly rushed into the water houses and packed bags of rice, beans, Noddles and tubers of yam.
When contacted, the Commissioner of Information and Public Affairs, Dan Manjang, told INDEPENDENT that the state government did not hide the palliatives from getting to the people of the state.
According to him, the vandalization and looting of palliatives from some warehouses in Jos was unfortunate.
“It has become expedient for the Plateau State Government to condemn the action and further make some clarifications about the items to clear the erroneous impression that they were being hoarded.”
He said the items at the warehouses were delivered to the state by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Social Development and Disaster Management for distribution to beneficiaries in Plateau State.
“The public may recall that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk, was in Jos together with the Minister of Women Affair,s Dame Paullen Tallen, on the 16th October 2020 to deliver the items and had indeed brought in the personel of the Ministry to carry out the distribution in conjunction with State officials.”
He said as they were preparing to begin the process, the #ENDSARS protests began which put the process on hold.
“Unfortunately, while the team from the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Social Development and Disaster Management alongside the state representatives were waiting for the coast to clear to commence the distribution, the stores were breached and the items carted away.”
He added that Plateau State Government therefore wishes to state categorically that it did not hoard any palliatives meant for the citizens of the State at any time.
“All the palliatives purchased by the State and those donated by private individuals were distributed equitably by the State Palliative Committee headed by His Excellency Prof. Sonni Tyoden, Deputy Governor of Plateau State.”
Danmajang said with this explanation, it would be wrong and mischievous for anyone to suggest that the State Government was hoarding food items meant for indigent citizens.
“The Rescue Administration of Governor Simon Lalong will never tolerate that.
“Government wishes to once again appeal to the citizens particularly the youths to continue to conduct themselves peacefully and avoid any action that could cause the breakdown of law and order,” the Commissioner explained.
As at the time of filling of this report, rugged looking youths of the Bukuru metropolis have decided on the state state fertilizer warehouse packing them in bags to their houses as security operatives have no answer to ongoing looting in Jos Tin city and Bukuru metropolis.
The video of the looting at one of the warehouses in Jos was posted on Twitter by @ArewaTwitter with a young man speaking excitedly about the ongoing looting of the warehouse. (New Express/Saturday Independent)