Ilorin — Kwara State Governor, Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, at the weekend announced the release of N500million support fund for looted businesses owners as part of the administration efforts to bring them back on their feet following the recent looting incident in the state.
Already, the governor said: "The application form is live and active on the state government website, and can now be filled by victims of the looted businesses so as to get them back as soon as possible."
Residents of Ilorin, the state capital, last Friday attacked a warehouse inside the Cargo terminal of Ilorin International Airport and Agro Mall in Sango area, Ilorin, where suspected COVID-19 palliatives, such as bags of rice, Semovita and other foodstuffs, were kept, and allegedly looted them.
The youths later gathered at the Nigeria Customs Service command at Irewolede area of Ilorin where lorry loads of bags of rice seized from smugglers were kept, but were resisted by the officers on guard.
The movement, however, shifted to Shoprite Mall on Fate road in Ilorin, and a privately-owned mall, FEMTECH, located at Taiwo areain Ilorin, where the goods were massively looted by the residents.
Speaking in Ilorin during an assessment visit to the looted business premises in Ilorin, the state Governor, AbdulRazaq, who also condemned "the mindless looting" of people's businesses in the state capital last Friday, insisted that "there can be no justification for such criminal behaviour.
"We are therefore not going to leave the business owners like that. We are setting up a N500million fund for those that were affected to access.
"The application form is active on the state government's website, and can now be filled by interested parties. We are going to get them back as soon as possible."
He commiserated with owners of all the businesses affected, and announced a N500million fund to assist them as part of the administration efforts to bring them back on their feet following the incident.
In his visit to the Kwara Mall and Agro Mall, the governor said the incident may bring businesses to their knees, and cause massive loss of jobs as well as a surge in poverty rate, implications he said were clearly lost on the hoodlums.
He added that the claims that the government was hoarding palliatives were false as it was not the owner of those materials.
AbdulRazaq explained that the foodstuffs stolen at the airport cargo terminal were donated to specific vulnerable households and were being distributed across the state for the private sector-led CACOVID Foundation.
AbdulRazaq stressed further that: "We engaged the #EndSARS youths in the state, and it worked out for us. They were not violent. They had a five-point agenda which the federal government has agreed to and has started implementing in Kwara State.
"We have also set up a judicial panel of inquiry to look into the allegation of police abuse. I also visited the police barracks to see how we can improve the welfare of the police in the state."