The Kaduna State Government says it will trace, arrest and prosecute those who looted COVID-19 items in Kaduna on Saturday.
The state’s acting governor, Hadiza Balarabe, said in a state-wide broadcast on Sunday.
She said that security agencies had already arrested some of those involved.
“There can be no other word but theft for describing the looting of food items donated by CACOVID,” she added.
“We have met community leaders and made it clear that what happened yesterday will not be tolerated. There can be no excuses for the crimes we have witnessed.
“The state is obliged to find and prosecute those involved in the criminal actions that unfolded yesterday.
“For the sake of every law-abiding and hardworking citizen, we cannot indulge those who think they are exempted from the obligation to respect the law and the right of others to their lives and property.
“Those who instigated these actions and who sadly persist in incitement should also expect to hear from the law,” the acting governor stressed.
Ms Balarabe warned that “much of the looted property is a threat to public health, including the expired and dangerous drugs that were taken from NAFDAC and the 8000 tons of chemically treated soybeans stolen from a private feeds processing company.”
She thanked security agencies for averting the spiral of violence and arresting some of the persons involved in the looting.
“I call on all the people of Kaduna State to uphold law and order, and to cooperate with the security agencies as they enforce the curfew.
“We call on citizens to remain vigilant as security reports indicate that persons desperate for bloodshed and anarchy continue to seek avenues to shatter the state, using rumours, fake news and incitement.
“We call on traditional rulers, community and religious leaders to assist security agencies to fish out the criminals involved in the regrettable spate of looting.
“We acknowledge the citizens who have been active in verifying information and combating fake news.”
The acting governor explained that the 24-hour curfew imposed on the state was to prevent criminal elements from undermining the law and placing lives and property of the people in danger.
“We commend the vast majority of the people of Kaduna State for being law-abiding and for not allowing criminal actions in their communities.
“We regret the inconvenience that this statewide curfew might have caused for such persons. The curfew is a difficult but necessary step for containing the violence and preventing it from infecting peaceful communities.”
She assured that the curfew will be reviewed based on the security situation in the state.
On the looted CACOVID palliative, the acting governor explained that the items were not hoarded by the government or any of its officials.
“Rather, the government was ready to commence distribution in all the local government areas, after taking pains to arrange a fair and efficient system.”
According to her, arrangements for distributing the items at ward level had been concluded, when the looters stole the items.
“The items looted do not belong to the persons that stole them. They were meant to support the most vulnerable in our midst.
“Mob action cannot replace the methodical steps taken to identify these persons and arrange for them to safely receive the items,” she added.