The Oyo State Government has said that the palliatives that were looted by hoodlums on Friday at a warehouse in the Akobo area of Ibadan, the state capital, did not belong to the state government.
Stressing that the Governor Seyi Makinde-led administration would not short-change the people, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Bayo Lawal, urged members of the public to discountenance the misinformation being spread on social media.
Some hoodlums had attacked a private warehouse belonging to a company in Ibadan carting away bags of rice believed to have been hoarded by the government.
Lawal, who doubles as chairman, Food Security and Palliative Committee of the Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force, said the state was not supplied rice as part of the palliatives from CACOVID and that it did not, at any time, distribute rice as part of the palliatives to the people.
He said, “Investigations revealed that there was nothing that concerns the Oyo State government in that warehouse. The warehouse belongs to a private individual who operates in Oyo State and was given a valid contract by the Coalition Against COVID-19, a coalition of private organisations that have been helping states and the Federal Government to fight COVID-19.
“So, it was the rice that he procured on his own for repackaging that was mistaken to be Oyo State’s, that hoodlums looted.”
The Commissioner stated that the state government could not hoard what it did not have, explaining that CACOVID supported the state with cash, medical items and food items including Indomie and Spaghetti.
He said, “It was really a big shock earlier this morning (Friday morning) when I started receiving calls alleging that food items meant for distribution to the masses were being hoarded. But when I enquired further, I was told that the bags of rice were looted in one of our warehouses in Ibadan, in Lagelu Local Government, to be precise. We don’t even have any warehouse outside the secretariat.
“All the palliatives given to us were stored in our warehouses within the secretariat, not outside. Whatever is being circulated that Oyo State was hoarding CACOVID-donated rice is wrong and baseless allegation.
“We want the public to know that though CACOVID gave us indomie, spaghetti, there was nothing like rice. We are still expecting their rice up till today. The rice, which was looted, belonged to a private company that happens to be a CACOVID vendor for other states.”
The CACOVID vendor whose warehouse was vandalised, Alabi Adeoye, stated that the looted bags of rice at the warehouse were meant to be supplied to Abia, Cross-Rivers, Plateau and Taraba States, disclosing that his company, which has been operating in Oyo State in the past five years, lost millions of naira to the attack.
“Our facility was vandalised and food items worth millions of naira were carted away. Property that was vandalised was worth millions of naira,” Adeoye was quoted as saying in the statement.