11 people were feared dead in Edo, Taraba and Anambra states in altercations over food and cash as hoodlums stormed government warehouses.
In Benin, Anambra, Kaduna, Plateau, Cross River, Ekiti, the rampaging youths raided warehouses, where foodstuffs and items meant for cushioning the COVID-19 effect and states emergency management relief materials were kept and carted away same.
Five persons were feared dead in Edo and the same number in Taraba State while one person died in Anambra State.
Five persons reportedly died in Taraba while struggling over cash discovered when hoodlums broke into a government warehouse located close to the secretariat of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Jalingo, the State capital.
Thousands of people, including women and children, were seen carting away assorted items from the warehouse.
It was gathered that the looters found two bags containing N1,000 notes inside the warehouse.
It was further learnt that the looters, in their hundreds, abandoned food items and started struggling to get the money.
A woman who was part of the action said, “We are taking what belongs to us. The politicians are wicked for keeping the items when people are hungry.
When contacted, the senior assistant on media and publicity to Governor Darius Ishaku, Mr Bala Dan Abu, declined comment on the incident.
“If you were at the warehouse and saw the looting, you can write your report, Abu said.
Youths in Barnawa, Kaduna South Local Government Area, Saturday broke into a private residence belonging to a yet-to-be-identified person and carted away hundreds of stashed COVID-19 palliatives.
The youths also stole furniture, electronics, as well as the roofing sheets of the house as they made their way in hundreds, causing a gridlock.
Following the chaos, the Kaduna State Government imposed a 24-hour curfew and instructed security agents to arrest and prosecute anyone found violating the curfew and those responsible for the breakdown of law and order.
A statement by the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs in the state, Samuel Aruwan reads, “Security agencies have further been directed to effect the arrest and prosecution of anyone found looting and destroying properties.’’
It was gathered that the house in Barnawa contained two large external stores that were stocked with hundreds of food items, including packs of sugar, noodles, spaghetti etc.
On Saturday, protesters in Anambra State defied Governor Willie Obiano’s 24-hour curfew and broke into a warehouse where COVID- 19 palliatives were stored.
The protesters, numbering about 2,000, stormed the state Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) office in the Agu Awka Government House while soldiers and other security men watched.
They carted away thousands of COVID-19 items and accused the state government of planning to use the palliatives for the 2021 campaign.
According to an eyewitness who did not want his name mentioned, a man simply identified as Ala Owerri, a mechanic, lost his life while trying to jump out of a trailer, suspected to carry food items at the popular Aroma junction, Awka.
It was gathered that the man had gone to the SEMA office earlier and carted away some noodles.
The trailer was subsequently set ablaze by the irate mob.
About five persons lost their lives on Saturday during a shootout between security agents and hoodlums who wanted to loot food items at the Edo Pharmaceutical Company warehouse in Benin City, the state capital.
Trouble started later in the afternoon when some youths allegedly returned to the warehouse to continue looting.
It was gathered that one of the looters allegedly discovered a pile of money in one of the rooms in the warehouse and screamed.
Consequently, they attempted to take away the cash but were resisted by the security operatives on ground, an action that triggered the unrest.
Three persons allegedly died in the warehouse while two women were said to have died from stray bullets, far away from the warehouse.
The development was said to have created tension in the area as motorists and other road users scampered for safety.
At the time of filing this report, efforts to get the comment of the police public relations officer in the state, DSP Chidi Nwabuzor, was unsuccessful as his telephone number was said to be unavailable.
In Calabar, the Cross River State capital, hoodlums were seen moving around the streets, brandishing weapons and shooting into the air.
As looting continued, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba and a senator representing Cross River southern district, Gershom Bassey, were attacked.
A long-time member of the House of Representatives Essien Ayi’s house was also attacked.
Atakpa police station, which is adjacent to the popular Watt Market, was also attacked and burnt.
Offices of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), as well as the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, were also vandalised.
A petrol station reportedly owned by Governor Ben Ayade was also burnt while the state-owned garment factory was also vandalised.
His private hotel, Mega Hilton was reportedly attacked, while a supermarket belonging to the wife of former Governor Liyel Imoke, Value Mart, was burnt down.
Asked to comment on the situation, Senator Gershom Bassey said, “I am not in Calabar, I cannot evaluate the extent of damage. I feel greater pain that hoodlums have hijacked the peaceful demonstration by the EndSARS protesters.’’
He called on the hoodlums to desist from the criminal acts, saying, “This is totally not what the EndSARS protesters were out for.”
In Abia, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu directed that the prevailing curfew imposed on Aba and Umuahia be relaxed from 6 pm to 6 am from Sunday, October 25, 2020.
According to the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, all markets in the affected areas are to be reopened during the day while market committees and security teams would mobilise adequate security to watch over the markets at night and during the day.
Kalu said the “state government wished to direct all commercial tricycle operators to henceforth vacate the roads during the curfew time to avoid being caught in the evil plans of armed hoodlums, who want to hide under the noble cause of genuine #EndSARS protests to perpetuate acts of brigandage, arson, armed robbery and other violent crimes.”
He noted that tricycle operators who failed to heed this directive would have themselves to blame as security agents had been authorised to impound and detain erring operators till the current curfew is lifted.
Some residents of Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, on Friday evening attacked the Federal Government’s silos in the area and carted away fertilizers and poisonous seeds preserved for planting.
They also attacked the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and warehouses where materials stored as relief materials for flood victims were kept.
They defied the heavy downpour and attacked the silos, located along the Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti about 7.30pm and made away with items suspected to be poisonous and non-consumable.
They were reported to have mistaken the fertilizers for garri and the preserved maize as consumable grains.
It was gathered that a large number of residents had boarded vehicles and motorcycles from far distances like Ijigbo, Ajilosun and Odo Ado area to get to the area, with the intention to loot.
Many persons were said to have sustained injuries as soldiers reportedly used minimal force to push away the crowd.
In a statement by the Commissioner for Information, Akin Omole, the Ekiti State Government warned that commodities looted from the silos were poisonous.
“Ekiti State does not have any warehouse for COVID-19 palliatives as all the palliatives have been distributed. The items being carted away are single super phosphate fertilizer and NPK, which they erroneously identified as garri.
“We appeal to our people not to consume these items because they can kill.
The Akwa Ibom State police command said it had arrested 10 persons in connection with the looting and vandalisation of properties in Uyo following the infiltration of the #EndSARS protest by hoodlums.
The Commissioner of Police, Amiengheme Andrew, said his men recovered stolen property worth millions of naira, including 14 deep freezers, 6 refrigerators, 8 flat-screen television sets, 4 water dispensers, 16 bags of rice, 4 air conditioners, one printer, chairs and other items.
“I commend the state government’s timely intervention through the imposition of curfew. Today, I went round to ensure strict compliance, and we will continue to do so.
In Osogbo, the Osun State capital, private businesses and warehouses in Ede, where the state food relief committee kept the COVID-19 palliatives, were burgled.
In Ilesa, the hometown of the immediate past governor and minister of interior, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, a government’s silo was also looted.
In Osogbo, residents gathered at the government warehouse at Old Garage in an attempt to burgle it, but they were prevented by soldiers deployed to protect the warehouse.
The looters bombarded the private businesses of the Asiwaju Musuluni (leader of Muslims) of Yorubaland, Alhaji Olatunde Badmus, Tuns Farms Limited and looted the company.
They also looted Olorunda Local Government Council in Osogbo and Iwo Local government in Iwo, among other places. They set the Iwo Local Government secretariat ablaze.
The police public relations officer for the Osun State command, Yemisi Opalola, said the hoodlums were armed with guns and other dangerous weapons, such that it was difficult to arrest them. She, however, said they would not go unpunished.
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has declared another 24-hour curfew over massive looting.
In Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, 10 people were arrested over the attack on Senator Teslim Folarin’s house in the Oluyole area.
It was gathered that empowerment materials worth N200 million were looted in the senator’s residence.
The Plateau State Government has once again reverted to the curfew it earlier imposed on Jos North and South local government areas following the looting of palliatives from some warehouses in Jos and Bukuru metropolis of the state capital.
Hundreds of bag of rice, corn, millet, among others were carted away.
The state government, however, denied the allegation that it hoarded food items meant for the people of the state.
A statement by the governor reads, “This looting has spread to other facilities and is gradually degenerating, thereby threatening the peace and security of the state. To avoid further escalation, I hereby direct the immediate reinstatement of the 24-hour curfew earlier relaxed from 4pm today,” he said.
In Kwara State, hundreds of people were seen in the morning breaking warehouses and carting away food items.
Reacting via his Twitter handle, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq said the stolen items were meant to be distributed to displaced flood victims in the state.
In Lagos, suspected hoodlums vandalised and looted the residence of the Majority Leader of the State House of Assembly, Chief Sanai Agunbiade in Akeredolu Itreet, Oke-Ota-Ona, Ikorodu.
It was gathered that the hoodlums stormed the lawmaker’s house in large numbers on Friday evening with weapons while they carted away food items and other valuables, including food items meant for the celebration of his birthday on Sunday, October 25, 2020.
The lawmaker, who doubles as the Opomulero of Ikorodu kingdom, said he lost valuables, including his certificates.
In the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the police foiled an attempt by some youths to break into a warehouse at the Arts and Culture building in Area 10, Garki.
In a statement signed by the media aide to the FCT minister of state, Austine Elemue, residents were assured that items for flood victims were safe as security agents were deployed to man strategic areas.
The Plan International Nigeria’s Country Director, Hussaini Abdu, told Daily Trust on Sunday that one of the reasons for the youths’ action was hunger and poverty.
Recently, on October 16, 2020 by Daily Trust quoted an expert as saying that most Nigerians were hungry.
Mr. Toyin Ajibade, a food security expert said many Nigerians were living in poverty and could hardly afford to buy foodstuff which left many hungry.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu on Saturday ordered police commanders to immediately stop the ongoing looting of warehouses and shops across the country.
The IGP directed the immediate mobilisation of all police operational assets and resources to bring an end to the wanton violence, killings, looting and destruction of public and private property, and reclaim the public space from “criminal elements masquerading as protesters in some parts of the country.”
The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, in a statement noted that the IGP gave the order to all Assistant Inspectors -General of Police, Commissioners of Police, heads of police operational units, Squadron and Base Commanders in charge of Zonal/State/FCT Commands, the Police Mobile Force, Counter-Terrorism Unit and the Special Protection Unit, on October 24, 2020.
“In addition, CPs and heads of police formations in the various states had also been charged to mobilize their men and work in sync with the command CPs in the areas where they are domiciled, to dominate the public space and ensure peace and safety in the affected areas,” the statement said.