As the cost of living continues to rise and its impact is being felt nationwide, hungry young people have raided government-owned grain stores in the cities of Yola and Jimeta in Adamawa. The raids were reportedly triggered by economic hardship and hunger induced by the increase in fuel price and its corresponding effect on other commodities. As these people targeted government warehouses, the chaos soon spread to local markets, where privately-owned food stores were also looted.
To disperse the crowd, soldiers opened fire on the crowd of hungry young people. Witnesses said that the multitude of people were scattered by the gunfire. According to news sources, no fewer than five persons were allegedly killed during the riot. About 45 persons were also arrested by security agents, who came in to restore normalcy to the scene. A resident of the area told news correspondents that the team of police and soldiers deployed to the area had successfully dispersed the hoodlums.
Twenty-four-hour curfew imposed by the governor.
According to a press statement by Humwashi Wonosikou, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ahmadu Fintiri, the state government imposed a 24-hour curfew effective immediately. Governor Fintiri noted that the curfew was as a result of the dangerous dimension the activities of hoodlums had taken across the state capital. They attacked people, broke into business premises and looted valuables. Reports revealed that in what appeared to be like the #EndSARS protest of 2020, hoodlums broke into the warehouses located at PZ and Kwanar Waya as early as 9:00 AM and carted away food items, such as rice, noodles, seasonings, palm oil, and more.
A civil servant in Jimeta town reported that the looters did not spare many shops around the market, including her cousin’s private warehouse. “It was like the EndSars uprising when government warehouses and offices were looted. But this was bad because those involved didn’t spare many shops around the market,” she said. With the curfew imposed, there will be no movement throughout the state. According to the government spokesperson, the curfew allows only those on essential duties with valid identification to move around during the period.
Adamawa police said looters were being rounded up.
Meanwhile, at least 45 persons have been arrested by security operatives in connection with looting. The spokesman for the Adamawa State Police Command, Suleiman Nguroje, who revealed this, said that more persons involved in looting were being rounded up as door-to-door search was ongoing. He said that security operatives would not leave any stone unturned until all the perpetrators were picked. However, even Nguroje could not confirm the number of casualties, but sources said that there were at least five.
The governor appealed to citizens and residents of the state to adhere to the directive. He said that any person found breaking the order would be arrested and made to face the wrath of the law. Also, commenting on the issue on TV hours after the attack on the warehouses, including that of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the deputy governor of Adamawa State, Prof. Kaletapwa Farauta, said that the attackers drilled holes into the walls of the warehouses. Other sources also mentioned that over 200 tricycles were loaded with grains and other items from NEMA warehouse alone.
Is this a mini version of 2020 protest-fueled crisis?
In 2020, the EndSARS protests that rocked major cities in the country soon turned bloody after protesters were allegedly shot at Lekki Toll Gate. According to some critics of the movement, the protest had been hijacked by hoodlums and louts at that time, and law enforcement officers and non-state actors were leveraging the opportunity to settle scores with others. What is of great concern is that many have expressed fear that the aftermath of the impact of fuel subsidy removal may come as a form of massive protests and looting, a mini form which just happened in Adamawa State.