Edo State Government has on Saturday afternoon reacted to the looting of its warehouse at Medical Store Road, Benin City, saying the items looted by the invaders were meant to serve as an interventionist measure in times of emergency.
It would be recalled that residents of the state capital had early Saturday morning stormed the warehouse and carted away all the food items and other medical supplies therein, which they believed were items meant to serve as palliatives to cushion the effects of the lockdown imposed on the states at the break of the COVID-19 pandemic in March this year.
The state government, in a statement endorsed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr Crusoe Osagie, said that the government warehouse stored palliatives materials and medical supplies, which served as a strategic reserve to mitigate eventualities in the state and not necessarily as a palliative for COVID-19.
The statement explained that upon receiving the relief materials, it had put in place “an ongoing process of distribution for the past seven months to the vulnerable and poor population to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis in the state.”
It added that the vandalised warehouse stored some strategic medical assets, regretting that the items looted included vaccines, high-end equipment and other supplies.
“The government has distributed most of the palliative materials sent to the state and what was stored at the warehouse, which has now been breached in Medical Stores Road, was strategic to mitigate eventualities. It is unfortunate that critical medical supplies, including vaccines meant for children, were vandalised, which is most condemnable”, the state government lamented.
“The other warehouses for food supplies in Edo State are empty as the relief materials that were earlier housed in them have all been distributed”, the government further claimed.
According to the state government, with the analysis of the trend of Coronavirus pandemic by scientists across the globe, that there was going to be a second wave of the Pandemic, as had been proven to be true in most parts of Europe, where there had since been a second round of shutdown, with its attendant economic implications, the government thought it wise to have a strategic reserve.
It added the reserve, which had now been looted, had assisted the government in the past few weeks, to rise to the occasion and mitigate the plight of people displaced by flooding in parts of Etsako Central, Etsako East and Esan South East Local Government Areas (LGAs).