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Abuja trader: I lost trailer load of food items to hoodlums

By Adam Umar, Hussein Yahaya, Seun Adeuyi (Abuja), Magaji l. Hunkuyi (Jalingo), Abubakar Akote (Minna), Dickson S. Adama (Jos), Mumini Abdulkareem (Ilorin) & Ibrahim M.…

By Adam Umar, Hussein Yahaya, Seun Adeuyi (Abuja), Magaji l. Hunkuyi (Jalingo), Abubakar Akote (Minna), Dickson S. Adama (Jos), Mumini Abdulkareem (Ilorin) & Ibrahim M. Giginyu (Kano)

 

More facts emerged over the Sunday looting of a private warehouse in the Karmo community of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Daily Trust reported how some hoodlums in their numbers attacked a government warehouse in Gwagwa town, as well a private one, owned by a trader in neighbouring Karmo town, all located within Abuja Municipal Area Council, in the FCT.

The Gwagwa warehouse, which was attacked around 7 am, and lasted till 9 am, was owned by the Agricultural and Rural Development Secretariat, of the Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA.

Branded bags of maize with government marks were stolen from the facility by the vandals, with others taking other valuables attached to the building like roofing sheets, windows, and gate.

Thereafter, the rampaging youth proceeded to neighbouring Karmo town, and looted a private warehouse, stocked by a trader.

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Speaking to Daily Trust about the incident, the owner of the attacked Karmo warehouse, Murtala Ibrahim Gusau, stated that the hoodlums arrived at his store located at Sabuwar-Unguwa area in the community around 9 am and forced their way in. He noted that some of the hoodlums were from the community while others have arrived on motorcycles from Gwagwa town.

On getting the information about the incident, “I ran to the Karmo Police Division but only to learn that the police there had left for Gwagwa where the first incident took place. Same information I got at the vigilante office around the market. So, I went back to the market and invited my fellow traders. On arrival, we discovered that the youth had already started looting the food items, and all efforts to stop them were not successful, as they used the arms in their possession, like sticks and machetes to attack us.

“I sustained some injuries from the attack,” Gusau added. Given the breakdown about the looted items, the trader disclosed that about 711 bags of rice were stolen along with 652 bags of beans, as well as 1,602 bags of sugar.

He, however, added that he was able to recover some of the stolen food items through the efforts of Karmo policemen, who arrived around an hour later in company of other policemen from the Life Camp division, and the FCT Police Command.

“The police were able to recover about 363 bags of rice, 475 bags of beans, and also 1,255 bags of sugar. We recovered them from some household and also the vandal’s hideout,” he disclosed.

He said the food items supplied recently were meant for Ramadan packages, where some individuals used to supply him and donated the same to the needy, especially the orphans and widows. He said he had since relocated the recovered items to somewhere within the Life Camp area in the FCT on the same day.

Abuja warehouse looting criminal – FCT Minister

Meanwhile, the FCT Minister of State, Dr. Mariya Mahmoud, has said the looting of a warehouse in Gwagwa-Tasha on Sunday by hoodlums was beyond hunger, but a criminal act.

The minister made her position known at the end of her assessment visit to Gwagwa-Tasha to ascertain the level of damage of the warehouse.

The minister, who expressed disappointment over the attitude of the youths within the area, however assured that the administration would establish a police post in all government warehouses across the territory going forward.

She said the incident happened when the administration was restocking its warehouse with a view to meeting up with the directive of Mr. President to distribute palliatives to all the six Area Councils in FCT.

She assured that all those involved would be arrested and prosecuted.

Marketers seek protection

Meanwhile, marketers have called on the federal government to take decisive measures to stop the assault on them, especially the looting of trucks and warehouses.

Alhaji Bala Kura, chairman of markets in Minna, Niger State capital, comprising Kure Ultra-Modern Market, Gwari Market, and Tunga Market among others, said marketers relied on the government to provide security and protect citizens and their belongings from hoodlums.

“Marketers are not the cause of this hardship and rising cost of living. Marketers go to buy goods to resell and they sell based on what they buy. So, the government has a lot to do to stabilize the prices of things, for instance, the cost of transportation. Whatever policy the government wants to make, leaders should always consider the majority of citizens that are poor and make life easy for them”, he said.

Another trader, Alhaji Samaila Aliyu said marketers have been in fear with the way hoodlums have started blocking roads and breaking into warehouses.

Similarly, following the rising cases of warehouses and shops looting in various states by hoodlums due to the hardships experienced in the country, traders in Jos, the Plateau State capital have intensified their security strategy to protect their shops against vandalisation.

A big shop owner in Bukuru market opposite NESCO Nigeria Limited, Nura Ibrahim Mohammed, said they are actually living in fear that their shops would be vandalised, and so they have fortified the existing security apparatus in Bukuru market.

On his part, the owner of Dubai International Shopping Mall along Ahmadu Bello Way, Mohammed Al-Amin, said the government should take drastic measures to tackle the looting going on in parts of the country as well as those being planned in other places.

Also, owners of warehouses and stores in Jalingo and other towns in Taraba States have expressed concern over the incidents of warehouses’ looting by hoodlums in the country.

A grain merchant who owns a big warehouse in Jalingo who does not like his name mentioned said the looting of warehouses is now a source of concern to him and all owners of warehouses and stores.

He said the incidents might become a national issue if it was not properly handled.

Nuhu Adamu, a business man in Jalingo, who also owns a big warehouse said the development might cause an economic crisis as hoodlums targeted both private and government warehouses.

However, our correspondents in Kwara, Kano, and Lagos states report that traders expressed optimism that such incidents would not happen.

Alhaji Danliti Usman is one of the merchants conducting businesses at Dawanau International Grains Market, the largest grain market in Kano State.

According to him, there is no any fear in the market on issues related to looting, adding that the market has never had such records in the past because the markets serve as a source of livelihood to thousands of people and no one would want to jeopardise chances of survival.

Another businessman at singer commodity market, Alhaji Abdulrahman Mohammed, said the market had no history of looting and the management of the market had put in place measures to handle such issues if they occurred.

Speaking on the issue, the Iyaloja of Kwara State, Alhaji Adenike Lambe at Mandate Market, said they are not afraid of their stores being burgled.

On her part, Mrs Adegboye Temitope told Daily Trust that “We have security already in place at the market and tasked them to be more vigilant. But the fact is that people are hungry and the government needs to take drastic action before the situation gets out of hand”.

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