Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
Osogbo, the Osun State capital, Ede and other neighbouring communities were a cynosure of all eyes when scores of angry residents were briskly conveying food stuff and several items they carted away from a COVID-19 warehouse in Ede Town.
Several other residents watched with amazement as the looters were conveying their loots on motor bikes and town service bus popularly called korope.
The looting also took place in Ilesa with reckless abandon according to report.
The looting which started in the morning lasted till evening.
We also gathered that several other people allegedly broke into another warehouse around Orisunbare Market and carted away different items.
Report also had it that attempts to break into another COVID-19 palliative warehouse at Old Garrage area of Osogbo were foiled by a detachment of security operatives.
The items carted from the warehouse in Ede North Local Government area included beans, noodles, sugar, salt, garri, rice, pastas.
They were allegedly meant to be distributed to the masses during the heat of COVID-19 pandemic.
The food items were packed inside large bags with COVID-19 palliative boldly inscribed on them.
We gathered that the residents stormed the warehouse located within the moribund Cocoa Ceramic Industry, Ede and looted the goods from Friday morning till afternoon.
A resident who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “We thank God for this discovery. Could you imagine that these politicians hid these food items meant for distribution to the poor masses during the COVID-19 pandemic?” he asked rhetorically.
But the Secretary, Osun Food and Relief Committee, Bayo Jimoh in a statement titled:
“Ede Warehouse Attack: Putting the Records Straight” described the incident as a misinformation.
He said it was untrue that the food items were hoarded and had nothing to do with the state government.
He, however, admitted that the items were not distributed as the committee did not have the authority to distribute the items without approval from Abuja.
He also disclosed that the items could only be distributed after a formal flag-off by the CACOVID Office, Abuja.
Jimoh said: “We are in receipt of information that the Warehouse in Ede, where we kept the relief materials donated to the Osun Food and Relief Committee by the Private Sector Coalition Against Covid-19 (CACOVID), has been attacked and food items carted away.”
He added: “It has therefore become imperative to put the records straight in view of the falsehood and the misinformation making the rounds about the donated relief items.”
“One, it is not true that the food items were hoarded.
Two, the food items have no direct bearing with the State Government, as they are within the purview of the Food and Relief Committee.
“Three, the items can only be distributed after a formal flag-off by the CACOVID Office, Abuja.
“Four, 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 up until now.
“The Committee wrote to CACOVID as recently as September 28, 2020, reminding it of the rice component, which is yet to be delivered.
Part of the letter reads: “I wish to refer to our letter on the above subject and wish to request for the recent update on the rice component expected to have been delivered to the state, and also to seek your advice on the exact time the state should expect delivery, considering the fact that items already received into the warehouse are food materials and are perishable with limited shelve lives.
“May I recall in our previous discussions that the delay experienced is due to increase in cost of rice and delivery, that the amount paid to suppliers could no longer cover cost of purchase and delivery to Osun.
“However, up until this moment, we are yet to receive response from CACOVID.
“This is the truth about the status of the donated relief items until their unfortunate looting.