The Edo State Government has reacted to the COVID-19 palliatives discovered in its warehouse, saying it “received 1,119,627 relief materials, distributed 1,112,307 items, and total items remaining (taken by rioters) 7,320.”
Hoodlums in Benin City, on Saturday, stormed the government warehouse along Medical Store Road in the Uselu, axis of the Edo State capital and looted the COVID-19 palliative items stored in there.
The mob, which had earlier in the morning, been prevented by military personnel from carrying out the act, succeeded in breaking the human shield mounted by the military and entered the store in their hundreds.
A man allegedly died while attempting to escape from the warehouse with his loot.
Reacting to the development, the State Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chris Osa Nehikhare, in a statement personally endorsed by him, on Sunday, gave analysis of the looted materials.
The statement reads:
“As they say, truth is the first casualty of war. The quote aptly explains the challenge of leadership those in government face at a time of crisis like this. Given that trust and faith in government is at a low ebb due to the recent events in the country, one thing, however, remains clear: truth and facts are always constant.
“The position of the Edo State government is clear on the items removed by some people from government warehouses housing palliatives materials. The Medical Stores Road warehouse housed medical supplies and remnants of distributed palliatives meant to serve as strategic reserve.
“As a responsive and responsible leader, Governor Godwin Obaseki ensured that palliative materials either acquired by the state government or received from donors such as individuals and corporate organizations were distributed across the state during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic between the months of April and June. Local councils, traditional leaders and other stakeholders were involved in the distribution and the distribution was far-reaching across the length and breadth of Edo State. Visual proofs abound on this.
“In line with his policy of accountability and transparency, Governor Godwin Obaseki has provided a breakdown of the distribution of the relief materials, making it clear that only 7,320 of about 1.1million relief materials were retained at the government warehouses. Please see attached table.
“It is sad that items taken from the Medical Stores Road warehouse were largely medical supplies and equipment. Those who participated in the breach of the warehouse have since confirmed this on the social media space. It is also worthy of note to point out that the Medical Stores Road warehouse is not the only one owned by the Edo State government and the rest of the warehouses are empty or near empty as the relief materials have since been distributed.
“Those who took part in the invasion of the government warehouses have since lamented that there was not much for them to take away from the warehouses unlike in some other states.
“Nothing is further from the truth that the Edo State government under Governor Godwin Obaseki hid relief materials meant to serve as palliative for the people. Facts are sacred.”