STRANGE THINGS LOOTED BY ‘HUNGRY NIGERIANS’

Strange Things Looted By ‘Hungry’ Nigerians
•A looter later became looted by a hungrier looter

In the past couple of weeks, two words became so popular among Nigerians: ‘Hoodlums’ and ‘Looting’. At first, it started as hoodlums causing uproar and frustrating the efforts of business owners by stealing property and vandalising their shops. Soon, it became news of another set of Nigerians discovering hidden palliatives, redistributing them and going ahead to loot more items from bizarre places. FAVOUR BOLUWADE reports some of the strange items ‘looted’ by these people and reactions of other Nigerians to the act.

How nysc camp in Kubwa got looted

By November 6, 2020, maybe for the first time in Nigeria’s history, would it be heard that corps members who will eventually get posted to Kubwa Camp in Abuja for their National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation, would have to go with their personal mattresses to the camp. This is because a set of hoodlums, also addressed as ‘hungry Nigerians’ had carted away their beddings.

Hoodlums reportedly broke into the NYSC orientation camp in Kubwa, Abuja on Tuesday. These people were also seen with mattresses, rice, groundnut and other items that were meant for the orientation programme which is expected to start in November.

A social media user showed his displeasure in a tweet where he wrote: “they attacked Kubwa NYSC camp, stole every mattress and even roofing sheets. I guess that was hunger too, very peaceful ‘protedlums’.

But before the NYSC camp in Kubwa got invaded by ‘hungrier’ citizens, there had been a major looting that got Nigerians talking, especially the CA-COVID palliatives discovered to have been hidden in warehouses across the country, from Osun to Edo, Lagos, Ekiti, Kwara, Taraba states, among others.

These palliatives included packs of foodstuff of which some were reportedly getting spoilt according to witnesses. The palliatives had been distributed by non-governmental organisations to the government, which in turn was to distribute them to poor needy Nigerians as a relief in the heat of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Palliatives looted: From Maza-Maza to other locations

On that fateful day last week, a Thursday, social media users to circulated videos of a warehouse at Maza-Maza,  Lagos, supposedly estimated at 600 by 600 feet in size, where foodstuff such as rice, noodles and salt had been kept, away from Nigerians who needed them. It was flabbergasting to many Nigerians and a lot of people could not hide their feeling of anger, disappointment and pity. To that note, the people who broke into warehouses were not called hoodlums but ‘looters taking back from the looters’. It was reported shortly after the incidence at Lekki tollgate where peaceful protesters had been shot allegedly at by soldiers. Hence, it was termed a form of distraction by Nigerians. Some had posted on Twitter that “who are the whistle blowers sharing the location of these palliatives, why are they distracting us from questioning who shot the peaceful protesters on Tuesday at Lekki?”

Many expressed how disappointed they were, at the way Nigerian leaders had shown greed and wickedness by keeping what was meant to be shared to the masses, especially with the rough economy.

Reno Omokri wrote: “The most misused word in Nigeria today is ‘hoodlum’. Those looting COVID-19 palliatives are hungry Nigerians. They had jobs before the mishandling of the economy wiped out their jobs. If there is any hoodlum, it is Buhari”.

This statement was not surprising as many other funny household items such as generators, grinding machines, used toilet bowls, television sets and sachets of detergent. had been reportedly stolen in some people’s kitchen and compounds in Osun State and other places.

But Zahra Buhari-Indimi, one of the daughters of President Muhammadu Buhari, following the discovery of these undistributed palliatives across the country, said her father was not to blame. She said: “Now that people confirmed that Buhari distributed enough palliatives nationwide, it is clear that Buhari is not our problem”.

 

Oba of Lagos’ Staff of Office

While that palliative raiding was going on, another set of angry Nigerians, the ‘hoodlums’, broke into the palace of a prominent monarch in Lagos and had destroyed the Iga Idungaran Palace of the Oba of Lagos. These hoodlums didn’t only destroy; they also stole the Oba’s staff of office, which plays a very significant role traditionally. The king’s staff of office was seen in a video held by a young man, running with it on the way out of the palace. In lieu of that, people were in awe at how the staff of office was meant to be a palliative. These hoodlums took the staff of office and also carted away a lot of money, according to reports. Shortly after the vandalism and theft, there was a post that read ‘Oba of Lagos’ ruling staff is up for sale for N10m’ in an online store.

Jalingo signpost looted

The next day, another location was discovered in Jalingo, Taraba State capital and from reports, the crowd overwhelmed security operatives in a bid to fight for their palliatives. The people of Jalingo also looted a road sign that reads ‘Jalingo’.

Other locations where palliatives were discovered include Jos, the Plateau State capital, Lokoja in Kogi and Cross-river in Calabar and Adamawa, where a tractor was looted alongside the palliatives.

 

You carted away chemicals, not palliatives —Ekiti govt.

But Ekiti people were not very lucky because shortly after they had looted their palliatives, it was immediately circulated that the people had only carted away fertilisers, chemicals and other agric chemicals. However, they also stole flood relief materials.

The statement released by the Ekiti State government was that: “Ekiti State has no CA-COVID palliative warehouse as all the palliatives had been distributed. The items being carted away are Single Super Phosphate Fertilizer and NPK which they thought was garri. The SEMA store invaded has emergency supplies for disaster response such as flood, fire or other emergencies. Some are making away with corns preserved for planting, with chemicals and preservatives which are all poisonous and not fit for consumption”.

The government implored the people who looted the items to return them because they could kill.

 

The many motocycles looted at Oluyole, Ibadan

Information also quickly spread that some other hoodlums had invaded Senator Teslim Folarin’s residence in Oluyole, Ibadan in the senator’s absence to also steal new motocycles among other property. The looters were seen riding out of the residence with the motocycles, grinding machines and foodstuff. Some later came out to say that the items they looted from the senator’s house were stolen from them on their way home.

Senator Foloarin, representing Oyo Central Senatorial district of Oyo State in a statement said “over 350 motorcycles, 400 freezers among other items were looted from my house.

“The perpetrators of the invasion and looting were not #EndSARS protesters but coordinated hoodlums. They even broke down doors to rooms in the house to steal valuable assets. It was a pure daylight robbery.

“The actions of the hoodlums are condemnable, and it is very disheartening that some bad elements in our society are hiding under the guise of #ENDSARS protests to loot and disrupt peaceful atmosphere in Nigeria.

 

CA-covid reaction to the lootings

Maybe some Nigerians would have to look forward to receiving their palliatives on special days  just as Sanai Agunbiade, senator representing Ikorodu constituency 1 had announced, that the palliatives in his care was to be distributed on his birthday. He said: “And for my birthday on 25th October 2020, I have sent out, through my media team, notice of my intention to give support to 50 widows who have already been nominated by different groups in a programme christianed Widows Mite for Widows and also distribute to some vulnerable and indigent individuals across the three local councils of my constituency, some palliative materials donated by the state and federal governments, as well as myself”.

The private sector which delivered the large amount of palliatives to several states across the country later reacted to the development on Tuesday, 27th October, that they were concerned about the events and they urged those involved in the destruction of properties, desist from the act in order to allow states to proceed with a peaceful and fair distribution of the palliatives to the vulnerable in the society.

The statement also reads: “Members of the Private Sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) wish to call for calm, amidst the looting of COVID-19 palliatives meant for distribution in various state government warehouses across the country”.

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