As economic hardship continues to bite hard in the country, some angry residents of Yenagoa have invaded a private warehouse used by the Bayelsa State Government to store food items and carted away foodstuffs.
The looted items were part of the relief materials donated by some concerned Nigerians during the catastrophic 2022 floods in the state, and they included bags of rice and garri, cartons of noodles and bottled water.
The incident was said to have occurred at about 7:45 pm as some of the hungry invaders stormed the warehouse located in the Kpansia area along the Isaac Boro Expressway with pick-up vans and private vehicles to move the foodstuffs away, most of which had already spoilt.
As the looting spree was going on, men of the state government’s security outfit called Doo Akpo mobilised to the scene and dispersed the hungry looters.
One of the patrol vans of the security outfit was stationed at the entrance of the warehouse, sweeping was being done and remnants were evacuated, even as wasted grains of rice garri and noodles littered the premises when our correspondent visited on Monday.
The Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency (BYSEMA) noted with “surprise and concern” the “unwarranted invasion” of the privately-owned warehouse in the state capital.
Reacting to the invasion in a statement on Monday, the Director-General of BYSEMA, Mr Walamam Igrubia, said the incident happened at 7:45 pm on Sunday after he and some personnel of the agency had left the warehouse premises.
He claimed that the food items were remnants that were swept and gathered in the warehouse premises by the agency for disposal as they were no longer fit for human consumption.
The statement said, “During the 2022 flood in the state, the agency used the warehouse to store food items. “As part of preparations for an impending flood this year, the DG visited the premises, and in his presence, remnants of food items, notably rice and garri that were no longer fit for consumption, were cleared from the warehouse and placed outside for disposal the next day.
“The remnants, which were swept from the floor and packed in disused bags, were less than 10 bags of rice and garri and with some broken cans of oil.
For emphasis, BYSEMA states that these items were not fresh food palliatives and were not hoarded by the Agency or the state government. “Importantly, these items are unfit for human consumption and a responsible, caring government like ours will not give Bayelsans such items as palliatives.
In essence, there were really no food items to loot. So, those who carted away the unfit items are please advised in their own interest not to consume them.
“The BYSEMA equally condemned the action of the yet-to-be-identified persons that invaded the warehouse premises, and “the attempt to politicise the incident by opposition elements in the state, who seek to score cheap political points from the ugly occurrence.”
The agency assured people of the state of its preparedness to handle the distribution of palliatives provided by the Federal Government as part of efforts to cushion the effects of its fuel subsidy removal policy as well as the fallout of impending flooding this year.
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Photo Credit: Getty