By Orbih William.
Let me explain why it is difficult for me to frown at the looting of warehouses. But first, let me clarify that I do not support violence in any way or form, or theft. I also do not support the wanton destruction of property or the looting of business, whether privately or publicly owned. Thus, I would not have been happy with the looting of government (or were they privately) owned warehouses, safe for what was discovered in these stores.
What did we find when he broke the doors of these warehouses opened? Palliatives meant for us; palliatives that did not get to us, palliatives that would probably never get to us. And even the tiny fraction of “us” who would have been lucky to get them would have probably only gotten them days after their expiration.
‘I understand why you are so skeptical,’ one of my best friends from secondary school told me. Like me, he is frustrated by the failure of Nigerian elites and could not blame me for not being able to trust them.
Most of us are frustrated with the lies of the elites. The Lagos State Government issued a statement claiming that the proposed or ongoing distribution was interrupted by the protests.
It is difficult to believe that. This is eight months into the pandemic, and most Nigerians are yet to get any support from their government, and you expect us to believe that these treasures stored would somehow get to them? All that most Nigerians have received have been nothing but “audio” palliatives.
We know that the Lagos State Government is lying, or at least not telling the whole truth. But this is not the only lie that they are telling. They are also talking about the palliatives being meant for other Southwestern states. This is most likely also a lie. I have seen similar videos of people invading warehouses in Osun State.
Fr Ameh Sylvanus is amazed that “the palliative items were so many that people didn’t even bother to fight over them. They had time for pictures and videos.” Like him, most people are amazed about how so much was stored in warehouses across the country while most Nigerians continue to languish in poverty and misery. Nigerian leaders are heartless, evil, wicked, and demonic. How do they sleep at night?
For me, the leaders’ insensitivity aside, the looting of the warehouse by the poor is quite logical—even if the morality is difficult to dissect. After all, the palliatives are ultimately meant for the poor.
If this is the case, then the poor have only taken what is rightfully theirs. The inscription on the pack clearly indicates NOT FOR SALE. So, the owners of these warehouses cannot claim to have suffered any loss.
There are perhaps a few persons who invaded these storehouses out of sheer greed. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority are certainly the poor and the needy. Thankfully, I have not heard that any storekeeper was killed or injured in the process. Thanks be to God. Rather, we saw even military men also scampering for their share.
I am tempted to see it as a sign of God fighting for the poor. I am tempted to see God directing street prophets to where their blessings are stashed away to rot. I am tempted to see God’s peace in the peaceful distribution that followed. I might be wrong, I admit. But it is definitely not out of place to remember Proverbs 11: 26: “People curse the one who hoards grain, but they pray God’s blessing on the one who is willing to sell.”
Interestingly, the Holy Quran also condemns the evil of hoarding while people around are suffering. “According to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), somebody who hoards foods or other goods for forty days will be prohibited from entering Jannah.” (https://azislam.com/prohibition-of-hoarding-in-islam#). I’m not suggesting that either the Bible or Quran approve or encourage looting. Neither do I.
Of course, I do not imagine that our leaders who often pose as Christians and Muslims (often because it is politically expedient) care about what is written in the Bible or the Quran.
Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Orbih William and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”