The past four weeks in Nigeria has been particularly challenging for citizens of Nigeria, home and abroad. From Nigeria being 60 and still experiencing major setbacks to #EndSars protest to Lekki Tollgate Massacre. Except you live in a pineapple under the sea, you’ll know that the recent news pervading the country is that of supposed citizens breaking into warehouses across the country in search of palliatives.
Let me take you a while back to the extreme period of the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria. In March 2020, Nigeria experienced her grand reception of the pandemic, which necessitated major shut down of monetary establishments, educational sectors, sports and leisure alike, across the country.
However, to tackle the situation effectively, an organization was established on 26th March 2020. This organization, Coalition Against COVID-19, was established as a private-sector task force in partnership with the Federal Government, Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), and also the World Health Organization (WHO), with the aim of combating COVID-19 in Nigeria. This task force was established to commensurate the effort of the Federal Government by providing and equipping medical facilities within the 6 geo-political zones in Nigeria, pull resources across industries to supply funding and advocacy through an aggressive awareness drive.
In August, CACOVID announced the kick-off of a national wide food palliative distribution, which was worth an estimate of #23billion.
However, the government didn’t commence the distribution immediately, as they were expecting a supposedly collective go-ahead from the top office of the organization in Abuja, before proceeding with the distribution.
After the protest was hijacked by hoodlums across the country, the government of some major States declared a state of curfew in a bid to make sure peace and orderliness. This was the process where people began to loot warehouses where the said palliatives were stored.
On the 20th of October 2020, Lagos witnessed the main break-in after people razed the warehouse to the bottom and carted away all items. This was followed by looting in other states like Lokoja, Osun, Port Harcourt, Adamawa, and Kaduna. With a number of these lootings happening in the NAFADA office in Kaduna as an example and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) a fertilizer and chemical factory in Ado Ekiti.
Now, watching how the peaceful protest turned out yielding no result, are these looting justifiable or not? Is it right for the government to hoard these items until this period when it could have served its Nobel cause at the inception of its provision? These and lots more are questions running through a lot of minds requesting answers. However, it is worthy of mention that in the midst of individuals trying to acquire what belongs to them as it were, a lot of innocent people have had their businesses vandalized and destroyed within the space of 1-week thanks to lootings. As they have been reports of hoodlums breaking into shops, stores, marts, and private warehouses of innocent citizens carting away their goods. Who is actually behind it? That’s a question we can’t answer as well.
It is a known fact that Nigerians are accustomed to survival through hardship. This however does not justify the reality that Nigerians are starving. And the refusal to effectively attend to this plight led to multiple economic backlashes on the government and innocent citizens as well. Who’s fault will this be? The conversation should start now and it should definitely birth the change we clamor for, until we are all free, No one is.