.Two die, others injured as Bayelsa community loots amnesty complex
At least one person was killed and many others injured at the weekend when community members broke into an office complex belonging to the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) in Kaiama, Kolokuma-Opokuma Local Government Area, Bayelsa State.
The shocking invasion and raid were reportedly carried out by residents of Orubiri, a host community of the amnesty yard located in Boro Town, which was named after the late Ijaw hero, Isaac Adaka Boro.
One of the invaders said to have asthmatic condition was reportedly choked to death in one of the warehouses while a baby brought into the complex by a woman was said to have died in the ensuing stampede.
The Amnesty Office built the expansive yard comprising many blocks of storey buildings to act as a liaison office for coordination of amnesty issues in the Niger Delta region, including storage and distribution of starter packs to beneficiaries.
But investigations revealed members of the host community, numbering over 1,000, invaded the complex, broke into all the offices and looted equipment and starter packs worth billions of naira.
The invaders were said to have overpowered a few army operatives stationed at the entrance, pushed down the gate and engaged in free-for-all stealing of items.
Efforts of the security operatives to stop them by shooting in the air were said to have proved abortive because of the high number of the invaders.
It was gathered that youths and women participated in the looting and ensured that equipment bought for persons trained for different skills was carted away.
The marauders were said to have stolen everything including installed air-conditioners, furniture and fittings and attempted to remove electric wires.
An employee of the amnesty office, who spoke in confidence, said the looting started early Tuesday morning last week adding that the equipment carted away was meant for beneficiaries from impacted communities in other states.
He said the Coordinator of PAP, Prof. Charles Dokubo, inaugurated the distribution of the items in Port Harcourt, Rivers State; Warri, Delta State and Orubiri, the host community in Bayelsa.
He said following the inauguration, about 500 beneficiaries of the host communities got their items without crisis.
“But we were surprised that the next day youths and women from the same host communities numbering over 1000 assembled at the entrance of the complex and demanded their share of the items.
“We explained to them that the items were meant for impacted communities in various states. They didn’t listen. They rather insisted that the items must be given to them.
“Most of them started calling people from other communities and before we knew it, the entrance was filled up. The person in charge of the place tried to call for security reinforcement.
“Even when they came, there was nothing the security operatives could do. The people pulled down the gate and started looting the items in the warehouses. They engaged in the looting overnight till the next morning,” he said.
The source added that Dokubo visited the place and expressed anger at the destruction of the complex, wondering why the host community would engage in damaging properties under their care.
The source said: “When the coordinator left, the people still besieged the complex. It was worse that night.
“Some of us were forced to flee because our lives were under threat. Some of the employees who could not escape were attacked.
“The people stole all the properties of our employees and even removed trousers from their waists. They broke into the administrative blocks and removed all the items there.
“They removed air-conditioners including toilet seaters. They are still looting. They are even trying to steal cables in the ground”.
The source said the office had video recordings of the invasion describing the area as security risk and called on law enforcement agencies to stop what he described as madness.
He added that an official report of the incident had been sent to the amnesty office in Abuja saying the office would take a final decision on the matter.