By Olawale Ibrahim, Lokoja
A total of four persons have been confirmed dead while others were seriously injured in a stampede during a looting spree of the warehouse where palliatives were stored in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital on Sunday.
It was gathered that youths in their hundreds had converged at John Holt Warehouse, Ikpata, the accredited government Warehouse at about 10 am.
The victims were said to have died during a stampede while struggling to carry available food items in the warehouse when the gates were forced opened for people to move in and take their shares.
Western Post gathered that one of the dead victims said to be a cripple who could not immediately escape when the crowd rushed in.
Though the state government had last week commenced distribution of the Covid-19 palliatives to all the 21 local government areas with each local government area getting one trailer and one canter truck loaded with items such as rice, semovita, indomie noodles,plasters all on 10 kilograms packs.
It was also gathered the invasion followed the state Governors order that the remaining items should be distributed to people, adding that the people were only responding to the governor’s order.
The security agencies deployed to the area were civil with people as they go inside to collect their own palliatives without a stampede.
The security agents were seen advising the people to maintain peace and avoid anything that could lead to stamped.
Some of the women at the scene of looting told journalists that they were there in response to the Governor’s directive that the remaining items be distributed to the people, saying that the officials must obey the governor’s directive.
“I am here to see if I will be lucky to get some food items for my family since things have not been easy for us since Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.
However, the state commissioner for information and communication, Kingsley Fanwo when contacted denied that anyone died.
“No one was killed. It is sensationalism. Media practitioners should stop killing people with their pens. There were reports of injured persons.
“They have been treated. Some of them already discharged. Those journalists that reported death thought they could stir crisis in our dear state.
“But they will fail. Peace will continue to reign in our state,” the commissioner said.