A private warehouse in the Kpansia area of Yenagoa used by the Bayelsa State government to store foodstuffs and other materials was on Sunday invaded by some residents of the state capital who carted away food items and other items.
The items included bags of rice and garri as well as cartons of noodles and bottled water, and they were said to be part of the relief materials donated by some concerned Nigerians during the 2022 flood disaster in the state.
It was learnt that the incident occurred at about 7:30 pm, even as some of the residents stormed the warehouse located along the Isaac Boro Expressway with pick-up vans and private vehicles to move the foodstuffs away, most of which had already gone bad.
While the looting was going on, the state government deployed men from its security outfit called Doo Akpo to disperse the residents and secure the building.
The state government expressed surprise and concern over the invasion of the premises of the privately owned warehouse and described the incident as unwarranted, saying the food items were remnants being gathered for disposal as they were no longer fit for human consumption.
A statement issued by the State Emergency Management Agency, on Monday, said the incident happened at 7:45 pm on Sunday after the Director-General of BYSEMA, Walamam Igrubia, and some personnel of the agency had left the warehouse premises.
The statement read in part, “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 who 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.”
It 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.