Hoodlums steal palliative materials in Bayelsa, Niger

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Some hoodlums have carted away bags of rice and garri, among other food items, meant for distribution to vulnerable persons by the Bayelsa State government, it was learnt.

The items were stolen by the criminals at a store where they were kept at Igbogene area of Yenagoa, the state capital.

A source, who spoke anonymously, said the hoodlums shot their way to the venue where the items  were being distributed to various representatives of the local government areas.

Those who were at the sharing point were said to have scampered for safety as the hoodlums shot rapidly into the air. It was gathered that the thieves escaped into the bushes with the loot.

Governor Douye Diri had on Thursday signed  an executive order announcing the partial closure of markets in the state and restriction of movement as part of efforts to check the COVID-19 in the state.

Bayelsa is one of the states that has not recorded an outbreak of the coronavirus in the country.

In Minna, the Niger State capital, hoodlums also hijacked relief materials being shared to some families to cushion the effect of the lockdown announced as part of measures to check the coronavirus.

The food items were distributed by the Angels of Hope Foundation, a private organisation.  The hoodlums numbering over 50 overpowered the officials of the foundation and made off with the relief materials.

The Nation learned that the hoodlums seemed to be under the impression that the relief materials were part of the intervention promised by the state government.

The state coordinator of the Foundation, Aisha Badeggi said the foundation had begun the outreach from Kpakungu before it moved to Anguwan Sarki and New York, in Bosso area of Minna, adding that Sabon Titi was the fourth place the Foundation went to when the incident occurred.

“It happened at Sabon Titi in Tunga. We were entering homes to give them the relief materials and explaining to them who we were, telling them the things they needed to do and those to avoid because of the pandemic.

“Suddenly, we came out from a particular house and over 50 thugs were following us to where we parked. They insisted that we should give them their own share.

“Before we knew it, one of them entered the car and opened the booth. They took the food items we had inside different sacks and went away with it. One of our member’s phone was removed from his pocket too but he got it back after much pleading.”

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