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Four feared dead in stampede as thousands storm warehouse in Kogi for palliatives

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• One killed as youths foil attempt to raze Ibadan police station
Four persons were feared dead yesterday afternoon in Kogi State as hundreds of residents stormed a warehouse in Lokoja in search of COVID-19 palliatives.

The warehouse, located along the Murtala Muhammed Way, close to Kpata market, was invaded as early as 7:00a.m. The fatalities, it was gathered, resulted from stampede by residents who rushed to the government warehouse.

The Kogi State Government had last week commenced distribution of COVID-19 palliatives to 21 local government areas. Each local government area got at least one trailer load of palliative items, including rice, semovita, noodles and pastas in 10 kilogram packs.

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A source at the scene told newsmen the casualties were recorded despite warnings by security personnel deployed to the area that residents should maintain peace and avoid anything that may lead to stampede.

Some of the women said they stormed the warehouse in response to the governor’s directive that the remaining items be distributed to citizens.

MEANWHILE, one person was feared killed in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Sunday as some youths prevented hoodlums from razing down the Mokola Police Station. An eyewitness, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the problem started when some hoodlums swooped on the station with the threat to set it on fire.

“However, they were met with resistance as the Mokola youths mobilised themselves and prevented the hoodlums from setting the station ablaze,” the eyewitness said.

He said one boy was hit by stray bullet. It was gathered that the youth also prevented the hoodlums from carting away some police uniforms that were kept at the station.

The hoodlums under the pretence of activism, despite pleas and persuasions made frantic efforts to set the police station ablaze and attack the officers attached to the station.

Also, a police Inspector attached to the station was hacked. A source, who witnessed the imbroglio, confirmed the death of the teenager who was hit by a stray bullet while the crisis was ongoing. But, no one could confirm who fired the gunshot that killed the boy either the police or hoodlums.

It was learnt the body of the boy was only brought to Mokola Police Station by the hoodlums, alleging the police must have fired the shot that killed the yet-to-be identified teenager.

While the pandemonium lasted, some of the hoodlums attempted to burgle shops on Mokola streets, a development that angered youths of the area who later mobilised in their hundreds to repel the hoodlums from setting the police station ablaze and looting the shops in the vicinity.

Calm has since been restored to the area with the arrival of men of Operation Burst. Though the Police Public Relations Officer, Oyo State Command, Olugbenga Fadeyi, could not be reached as of the time of filing this report, the Director-General of Operation Burst, Col. Oladipo Ajibola (retd.), confirmed the incident. He said the situation had been brought under control at Mokola and its environs.

As at the time of filing this report, men of the State Joint Security outfit codenamed Operation Burst, mobile policemen and officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) have heavy presence in the vicinity.

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