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COVID-19, poor governance liable for unrest –Bello

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi has blamed the handling of the COVID-19 outbreak as well as the maladministration of past administrations in the country as the root causes of the unrest in the country. He warned that decisive steps must be taken to restore normalcy.

The governor stated this in Lokoja, yesterday, while featuring on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, saying the COVID-19 scourge birthed the current unrest in the country. His words: “I warned then that the pandemic was a creation to promote poverty, stifle our national growth and breed hunger. They want us to be locked down in hunger. They were not happy that we were getting closer to sufficiency in food production. And we bought the unfortunate market.

“What we are seeing today is the product of hunger. People are hungry and angry. We must find quick solution to that. “I never believed in the hype around COVID-19. I rejected the international fund to support states affected by the pandemic because my state wasn’t affected.

I was the only governor that refused to sign that document.” On the attack on warehouses, the governor said it wasn’t the fault of the governors. He said some of the palliatives came late and some of them were bad.

“Some of the food items came late and we even raised eyebrow over the supplies. You are bringing rice for me when I have built the second largest rice mill in Northern Nigeria in my state. What is the economic sense in it? Why didn’t they allow us to buy these products in our respective states and stimulate our local economy? Some people really benefitted from the unfortunate situation,” he said.

Bello said the palliatives brought by the Federal Government and those provided by the state government had been distributed across the states, insisting that his administration has been distributing relief materials to the poor and victims of flood since 2016. Asked for his view on the on-going protests and looting by some youths and hoodlums, the governor said the initial agitation of the youth was genuine. He said: “When they started, their agitation was genuine.

we supported them then and joined our voices to support their agitation against police brutality. As the youngest governor in Nigeria and being the poster boy of youths in governance, I am duty bound to support their agitations that are genuine, legal and legitimate.

“But I was disappointed when I noticed the agitation, to a large extent, has some political undertones. I see 2023 in some of the things they were doing. It got hijacked by criminals who began to destroy even things and institutions that benefitted the poor. As young people, we have to act responsibly. “Hoodlums began to loot from people and even our fertilizer warehouse here was burgled. Is it still an agitation against police brutality? Mr. President did what was right.

The IG announced the disbandment of SARS. And in its place, SWAT was to come in. “What we need is the reform of our entire security architecture. We must work on their recruitment, training and the consciousness that the people employed them to protect them, not to kill them. We will not lose hope. We have to keep talking to our youths to do what is right.”

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