A private warehouse in the Kpansia area of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital used by the state government to store foodstuffs and other materials was on Sunday invaded by some residents of the state capital who stole food items and others.
The items included bags of rice and garri as well as cartons of noodles and bottled water said to be part of the relief materials donated by some concerned Nigerians during the 2022 flood in the state.
It was learnt that the incident occurred around 7.30pm when the residents stormed the warehouse located along the Isaac Boro Expressway with pick-up vans and private vehicles to move the foodstuffs, most of which had already gone bad, away.
While the looting was ongoing, 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 around 7.45pm 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 no food items to loot. So, those who carted away the unfit items are please advised in their interest not to consume them.”