Over four warehouses across Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, have been looted by hoodlums within the last 48 hours.
The violence, which stemmed from the shooting of unarmed protesters at the Lekki toll gate last Tuesday, has quickly spread to other parts of the country, with public and private warehouses as well as government officials’ homes as primary targets.
The FCT has now attracted looters who, on Sunday afternoon, invaded warehouses at Idu Industrial Layout parting with loads of items including motorcycles, bags of rice, cereals and textiles.
On Monday morning, looters once again gathered at Idu where they attacked another warehouse.
At the time of filing this report, looting had spread to the Gwagwalada area of the FCT, where looters ransacked a COVID-19 palliative warehouse.
Mohammed Zuntu, an associate of Adam Mustapha, the chairman of Gwagwalada area council, said the warehouse had been storing palliatives for four months, having only distributed them to the locality on two previous occasions – Ramadan and Sallah.
He added that a third distribution was planned for Sunday, but before it could begin, crowds had swarmed the warehouse carting away the items.
Mr Zuntu explained that security forces at the scene chose to avoid stopping the mob forcefully, instead imploring looters to “be peaceful and not be violent.”
Our reporters also witnessed a soldier intervening when two persons fought over looted items. This newspaper also observed some people re-selling looted items to those unable to make it to the warehouse.
A female looter boasted to our reporters that she was among the first set of people that visited the warehouse in the earlier hours.
“The plan was to break (loot) into the place on Friday but we were dispersed by soldiers while converging at the venue,” she said, affirming that the warehouse belongs to Gwagwalada area council.
Security forces deployed themselves strategically around the town, watched on helplessly as people streamed in and out of the warehouse.
When this reporter approached police officers guarding a local supermarket for comment, they declined to do so.
Meanwhile, the FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, has asked security operatives to arrest anyone who breaks into and loots any property in the city.
As the minister read the riot act, residents were still busy looting another warehouse in Tungan Maje, which is about 15 minutes drive from Gwagwalada.