Three feared dead in stampede during warehouse looting in Abuja

No fewer than three women have reportedly died in Gwagwalada Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, following a stampede that ensued at a Covid-19 warehouse being looted by protesters.

They were trampled to death during the looting of a massive palliative warehouse in Gwagwalada.

Besides the three women, others collapsed while many sustained different degrees of injuries.

According to eyewitnesses, hoodlums climbed fences from a nearby compound close to WAEC office, while others fought their way through the back of a commercial bank premises.

Parts of the roofs of the warehouse were removed by the hoodlums.

Personnel of the Nigeria Civil Defence and Security Corps, the Nigeria Police and the Brigade of Guards of the Nigeria Army, who arrived the at venue early, blocking the roads with their vehicles, were overpowered.

They watched as people made away with the COVID -19 palliatives.

According to eyewitnesses, trouble began at about 8.43am when youths gathered within the areas leading to the warehouse.

As they gathered in hundreds, shouting and expressing anger at the sufferings in the land, they were joined by motorcyclists who came with stories of looting and raid incidents from other parts of the country.

By 9 am, security personnel could no longer control the crowd, mostly youth and women, who forced their way into the warehouse, broke the doors and part of the wall and began looting all items inside the building.

It was learnt that youths from the suburb of Angwa Dodo, Wazobia Parks, Tipper Garage, Passo and surrounding areas of Gwagwalada markets joined the crowd to help themselves to the palliatives.

Some of the items looted were bags of rice, cartoons of Indomie noodles, spaghetti, macaroni, bags of fertilisers, Indorama products, brand new motor bikes, grinding machines, bags of salt, bags of sugar, and cartoons of soaps.

By 11.23am, some reinforcements of security operatives forced their way into the massive warehouse, which had COVID-19 written on it and shut it down.

Meanwhile, the Minister of the FCT, Muhammad Bello, has ordered the deployment of soldiers and other security agents to different parts of the FCT to prevent further looting of warehouses in the nation’s capital.

He has also ordered the arrest and prosecution of those who forcefully gained access into the FCT warehouse in Gwagwalada Area Council and looted the food items in the store.

Bello gave the orders during an emergency security meeting with leaders of various security agencies in the city on Monday in Abuja.

The minister, who asked those who looted the food items to return them immediately, disclosed that there would be massive deployments of security agencies to safeguard factories and warehouses at Idu Industrial Area.

Bello stated that what was going on was no longer #EndSARS protest, but stealing by hoodlums.

On her part, The FCT Minister of State, Ramatu Aliyu, condemned the looting in strong terms.

Aliyu said no nation could survive without a food reserve which are being looted across the country.

She called on Council chairmen and royal fathers to reach out to opinion molders and unite the people against looters.

Royal fathers who spoke called for decisive actions to be taken against those looting across the city.

They said hoodlums are beginning to enter markets, shops and personal business premises.

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