Kogi got its own bite of looting going on across the country on Sunday as some residents were able to gain access and loot palliatives stored in a warehouse in Lokoja, the state capital, after keeping vigil at the location for more than 24 hours.
However, the success of their efforts was marred by the death of three persons in the stampede and struggle for the food items and other Covid-19 palliatives by hundreds of people who stormed the warehouse.
The warehouse which is located along the Murtala Mohammed way, very close to Kpata market in Lokoja was invaded as early as 7 am on Saturday by mostly women.
The state government had last week commenced distribution of the Covid-19 palliatives to all the 21 local government areas.
It was gathered that Governor Yahaya Bello had ordered that the remaining items in the store should be distributed to people before the Sunday morning’s invasion.
“The security agencies deployed to the area even encouraged people to go inside and collect their own palliatives without problem. They even advised the people to maintain peace and avoid anything that will lead to stampede,” one of those who participated in the looting of the palliatives said.
Some of the women who participated in looting of the items also confirmed that they were there in response to the Governor’s directive that the remaining items be distributed to the people.
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“I am here to see if I will be lucky to get some food items for my family since things have not been easy for us since Covid-19 pandemic,” one of them told this newspaper.
Instead of condemnation, Kogi State Government expressed deep appreciation to the people of the State who turned out at the State Warehouse to share the remaining palliatives that were reserved for women and youth groups after Government had distributed the bulk of the palliatives to all the 21 Local Government Areas.
Kogi Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, in a press statement issued on Sunday said “report at our disposal showed that Local Government authorities ensured the palliatives reached the masses and helped in ameliorating the hardship visited on our nation as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We urge our people to continue to stand tall in public conduct as Government will always put their welfare on the front burners.
“The Government of Kogi State also wishes to sound a note of warning to miscreants that all constitutional efforts will be geared towards protecting shop owners in the state as any violation of law and order will be met with superior resistance by law enforcement agencies.
“Our people should go about their normal businesses as Kogi State remains safe.”