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The Kaduna State government says items looted by hoodlums were meant to support the most vulnerable in the state.
Addressing residents of the state in a broadcast on Sunday, the acting state governor, Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarebe said the items looted did not belong to the persons who stole them.
She said the state government had explained how it handled the CACOVID donations as part of its duty of political responsiveness, stressing that the mob action cannot replace the methodical steps taken to identify the vulnerable ones and arrange for them to safely receive the items.
She noted that brazen acts of looting of public and private property, and the vandalisation of premises occurred on the 24th day of October 2020 in locations within Chikun and Kaduna South local government areas, saying that to protect lives and property and uphold public order, the government was compelled to impose a 24-hour curfew that was at first limited to the affected communities, and then extended across the state.
She confessed, “We commend the vast majority of the people of Kaduna State for being law-abiding and for not allowing criminal actions in their communities. We regret the inconvenience that this statewide curfew might have caused for such persons.
‘The curfew is a difficult but necessary step for containing the violence and preventing it from infecting peaceful communities. I wish to assure our people that we will keep reviewing the security situation while doing our utmost to protect citizens and their property. I appeal to all residents to comply with the curfew and help us accelerate a return to the normalcy that decent citizens deserve.’
The acting governor explained that inspection of many of locations where criminal actions of looting and vandalisation occurred and have sympathised with the persons whose homes and businesses were affected.
She added that much of the looted property is a threat to public health, including the expired and dangerous drugs that were taken from the NAFDAC warehouse and the 8000 tons of chemically treated soybeans stolen from a private feeds processing company.
The acting governor said there was no justification for the crimes of looting witnessed.
The state, she said, is obliged to find and prosecute those involved in the criminal actions that unfolded yesterday, adding that for the sake of every law-abiding and hardworking citizen, the state cannot indulge those who think they are exempted from the obligation to respect the law and the right of others to their lives and property.
She explained that the CACOVID donations were not hoarded by the government or any of its officials but rather, the government was ready to commence distribution in all the local government areas, after taking pains to arrange a fair and efficient system.
“Kaduna State received the last delivery of CACOVID items after lifting the lockdown, at a time when the state’s Covid-19 figures were rising. The government considered the real possibility that a second lockdown might be required. Therefore, it weighed the prospect of using these donations to mitigate the lockdown were such to happen. The government did not wish to rely again on donations by public servants in Kaduna State that had funded the first two rounds of palliatives distributed in the state,” she further explained.
“One of these lessons is about better targeting of beneficiaries in order to ensure fair spread across local governments. The local government coordinators and ward committees were tasked with identifying vulnerable persons in areas where the Social Register data was unavailable,” she added.