Pretoria – The Nigerian government has expressed shock at the looting of vaccines and medication across the country during the #EndSARS protests and has begged the looters to return the goods.
In a statement on Tuesday, Health Minister Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora said the looters made off with medication that was donated by different organisations to support the fight against Covid-19.
“Our particular concern is the issue of medication, vaccines and palliatives looted from various warehouses around the country. The palliatives consisted largely of the 70 megatons of grains released from the strategic grain reserves as well as rice secured from the Nigeria Customs Service.
“The Private Sector Coalition (CACOVID) that has been quite supportive of the federal government worked with the states through the Nigerian governors’ forum to determine the quantum of their intervention, which was intended to be effective and equitable. Unfortunately, all their efforts have gone to waste,” Mamora said.
Mamora appealed to the youths to stop breaking into government medical stores and begged those who had carted away items to return them.
He said most of the medicines and medical consumables in these stores were stored under controlled environmental conditions, such as temperatures and humidity.
“Disruption of these conditions would render them ineffective and in some cases poisonous. Destruction of these items will impact negatively on our response to this pandemic.
“I also call on all who are in possession of vaccines, medicines and other equipment and consumables to please return them. Those that can still be salvaged will be used and those that cannot will be disposed of properly,” he said.
Mamora also urged state governments not to shut down their isolation centres, saying there was a need to be on the alert in case of a resurgence of Covid-19.
“We, however, advise states and relevant stakeholders not to completely close all isolation centres due to consistent lack of patients, but some centres should rather be maintained. This is to ensure promptness and readiness against any surge as part of preparation against a possible second wave.
“We are also making arrangements for stock taking and repurposing of equipment earlier deployed to temporary isolation centres, with a view to using the opportunity provided by the resource mobilisation for the Covid-19 response for strengthening health systems,” he said.
African News Agency (ANA)