Ogun residents search for COVID-19 palliatives, accuse govt of hoarding items for LG polls

Residents of Ogun State have thronged Abeokuta and Sagamu in search of COVID-19 relief packages purportedly hoarded by the state government for the forthcoming local government election.

DAILY POST reports that security agents in Ogun have been keeping vigil to protect buildings suspected to be housing COVID-19 palliatives.

Since Friday, some youths, including married women and students besieged some buildings where they suspected the food items were kept.

Soldiers and anti-riot policemen shot into the air to disperse the people but many of them refused to leave, even when they were told that the warehouses are empty.

DAILY POST reports that videos of Nigerians who have invaded COVID-19 palliatives warehouses to loot food items in different states have gone viral on the social media.

The food items, it was gathered, were to be distributed to the poor and vulnerable in order to relieve them of the hardships caused by the COVID-19 lockdown.

Many people are still wondering why the food items were kept in warehouses until now when the lockdown is over.

Nigerians, on the social media, have been attacking governments for keeping the palliatives in warehouses instead of giving them out to the needy.

In Ogun State, there are widespread rumour that the state government is allegedly keeping the food items for loyalists of Governor Dapo Abiodun.

It was also alleged that the government diverted the palliatives so as to distribute same during the local government election, date of which is yet to be known.

Consequently, some youths were in Abeokuta and Sagamu metropolis searching for where the said palliatives were stored.

It was learnt that they were also seen at the entrance of the Sagamu NYSC camp, trying to scale a fence as they believe there are food items stored therein.

Reacting, the Ogun State Government on Saturday debunked what it termed “malicious rumours alleging that it hoarded or diverted COVID-19 relief packages donated by the private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19, CACOVID.”

According to the Government, the only relief packages still in the possession of the State were received towards the end of September, and have been distributed across nine local government areas to the poor, vulnerable and elderly since October 4.

A statement shared by the Senior Special Assistant to Gov Abiodun on New Media, Emmanuel Ojo, said, “The rumours had alleged that the palliative items were discovered hidden at three different locations, including the Bishop’s Court, as well as an unnamed store in Onikolobo, Abeokuta; and the NYSC Camp in Sagamu.

“Already, the Bishop of the Egba Anglican Diocese, E.O. Adekunle has made a video of the empty hall alleged by hoodlums, who laid siege on the Anglican compound, to have been filled to the brim with supposedly diverted relief packages.

“In addition to this, it has been impossible for purveyors of the fake and misleading news to name any one store in Onikolobo which can accommodate the number of relief packages alleged to have been hoarded or diverted.

It was said they the relief packages said to be at the NYSC camp Sagamu have been distributed since their delivery in September, according to purpose.

Ojo said they were not kept in the camp for the coming local government electioneering campaigns or any other political motive.

According to him, the government has ensured strict monitoring of the receipt, release and distribution of the palliatives, making it impossible to be diverted and relocated

“The general public is therefore urged to disregard the lies being circulated about the management of these items which the Government will continue to distribute to target beneficiaries, to cushion the effects of the pandemic on citizens of Ogun State,” it was said.

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