Looters have been targeting state warehouses across Nigeria stocked with COVID-19 relief supplies which they say should already have gone to the poor and hungry.
Some of the looted COVID-19 palliatives taken from government warehouses are gathered in a house in Yola. (Reuters)
Videos showing dozens of similar raids, from northern Kaduna state to western Kwara and Lagos in the south, have filled social media since late October.
At some warehouses, guard were overrun by looters, while state or local officials sent armed men to others to chase the looters away.
Many of the raids happened in the chaotic days following the shooting of protesters in Lagos on Oct. 20, when some areas in Nigeria, mostly in southern states such as Lagos and Cross River became engulfed by lawlessness and there was widespread looting.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Sadiya Umar Farouk's office said distributing palliatives was the responsibility of state governors, not the federal government. The NGF did not return a request for comment.
With Nigerians spending 60 percent of income on food, according to analysts SBM Intelligence, and trust in government low, some support the looters.
“That is not stealing,” Opeyemi Elegbede, a payment recovery officer for food vendors in Lagos, told Reuters. “They went for their rights.”
Senior SBM analyst Glory Etim said few believe official explanations.
“If these things were not distributed at that time, it means there were other motives behind it,” she said. “It's this motive that they've been trying to explain, and it doesn’t really make sense.”
Nigeria has had 63,790 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,154 deaths.