…As Osun food committee explains: ‘Why we didn’t distribute looted COVID-19 palliatives’***
Ekiti State Government raised an alarm on Saturday that huge quantities of poisonous items, mistaken for food yet to be distributed as Covid-19 palliatives, were looted in warehouses in Ado-Ekiti on Friday.
Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mr Akin Omole, said in a statement in Ado Ekiti that raising the alarm became expedient to forestall any harm that could befall anyone who consumed the items.
Also reportedly looted was the office of the Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) in Ado Ekiti.
“Information at our disposal revealed that the Federal Government’s silos, the ADP warehouse and the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) stores, all in Ado- Ekiti, were attacked by hoodlums under the guise of seeking Covid-19 palliatives.
“We insist that Ekiti state currently has no Covid-19 palliative warehouse as all the palliatives had been distributed.
“Unfortunately, the items carted away were Single Super Phosphate and NPK fertilisers, which they erroneously thought was “Gaari’’, cassava grains.
“The SEMA store too has only emergency supplies for disaster response.
“Some people even made away with pre-fermented corns preserved for planting. All these items are poisonous and not fit for consumption.
“We, therefore, appeal to our people not to consume these items because they can kill,’’ Omole warned.
In a similar statement, Dr Olabode Adetoyi, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, confirmed the looting, warning that most of the items carted away contained chemically-treated seeds meant for planting.
“They are not suitable for consumption,’’ he declared.
A correspondent reports that the looters actually defied a heavy downpour in Ado-Ekiti on Friday night to storm the warehouses.
In a related development, the Osun Food and Relief Committee on COVID-19 on Friday said the looted items at a warehouse in Ede town were not hoarded, but rather kept for the flag-off of the official distribution.
Alhaji Bayo Jimoh, Secretary to the committee, in a statement in Osogbo, said that the looted items were donated to the committee as palliatives to the people by Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID).
Some angry youths in the early hours of Friday broke into a warehouse in Ede town and carted away COVID-19 palliatives meant for distribution.
Items such as beans, noodles, sugar, salt, garri, rice, pastas, vegetable oil, among others, were looted from the warehouse located within the moribund Cocoa Industry, Ede.
The incident, however, happened barely 24-hours after the state government announced the suspension of dusk-till-dawn curfew imposed following the #EndSARS protest.
Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola had in April inaugurated a 21-member Food and Relief Committee to cushion the effect of COVID-19 on the people of the state.
Jimoh, however, said that the looted food items had no direct bearing with the state government, adding that the items were within the purview of the Food and Relief Committee.
He said as such, the items could only be distributed after a formal flag-off by the CACOVID Office, Abuja.
The statement read partly, ” We do not have the authority to distribute the food items without approval from Abuja.
”Besides, the Committee is still expecting the rice component of the donated items, which is 40, 230 bags of 5kg.
“All these are part of the reasons the items were still in the warehouse up till the time of the invasion.
“The following items were donated; Pasta FMN – 29, 992; Pasta OLAM -10, 282; Noodles- 80, 644; Garri -40, 322; Salt- 40, 320; and Sugar – 40, 227.
“However, the rice components of the donated items are yet to be delivered until now.
The Committee wrote to CACOVID as recently as Sept. 28, 2020, reminding it of the rice component, which is yet to be delivered.
“However, until this moment, we are yet to receive a response from CACOVID.
“This is the truth about the status of the donated relief items until the unfortunate looting,” Jimoh said.