by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
Thousands of people in some areas in Jos South local government area, including men, women and youths finally broke into the COVID-19 Warehouse in NITEL area of Bukuru, close to Shepherd House warehouse and the JIB warehouse where COVID-19 palliatives were kept.
The intimidating crowd was seen picking various food items in a free-for-all struggle. Security personnel at the warehouse, who could have stopped the mayhem, had no choice than to allow the people free hand as their population was overwhelming.
The food items were widely believed to be part of the palliatives sent to plateau state to be distributed to its citizens.
Our correspondent gathered that, the palliatives were meant for distribution during the COVID-19 lockdowns, but the people wondered why the food items were left in the warehouse, while they were suffering and hungry without food.
It was revealed that, at the JIB warehouse, 3 trailers where loaded with the food items packed from there to an unknown destination, following information received by government of an impending storming of the warehouse by the masses on Saturday morning.
In its reaction, the Plateau government said that, by the vandalization and looting of palliatives from some warehouses in Jos and Bukuru on Saturday it become expedient for the state government to condemn the action and further make clarifications about the items to clear the “erroneous impression” that they were being hoarded.
A statement on the issue was signed and issued to newsmen in on Saturday by commissioner for information and communications, Hon. Dan Majang, indicating that, 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.
He said, the public may recall that the Hon. Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk, was in Jos together with the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, on the 16th October, 2020, to deliver the items and, had indeed, brought in the personnel of the ministry to carry out the distribution in conjunction with state officials.
However, according to him, as they were preparing to begin the process, the #ENDSARS protests began, which put the process on hold. Unfortunately, he stressed, 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.
Hon. Majang said, the 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 Deputy Governor of Plateau state, His Excellency Prof. Sonni Tyoden,” he stated.
While lamenting that 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, Majang said that “the Rescue Administration of Governor Simon Lalong will never tolerate that.”
He appealed 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 in the state.
He also reminded the citizens that the directive for the ban on protests and procession is still in force, and security agencies still have the mandate to arrest and prosecute those, who violate the order.