Supermarkets in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital have become the target of daredevil armed robbers, who are taking advantage of the porous security situation in the state to rob them frequently.
No fewer than five supermarkets have been robbed in the last one week, some of them twice within the week, including a very popular supermarket, located around the Otiotio area in the heart of the capital city.
The situation has now forced owners of supermarkets to adjust their closing time, as most of them now close between 6.30 and 7pm to avoid falling victims of the incessant robbery attacks.
A manager of one of the supermarkets who did not want his name mentioned, said the action is a preventive measure to avoid losing their goods and daily sales to the hoodlums.
He however, appealed to the state government to double their efforts to combat the rising wave of criminal activities in the state so that normalcy can return to their business and other economic activities.
“Before now, we were closing by 10pm but now we close by latest 7pm. Once it is 6pm we have started packing and by 6.30, we close our gate to review sales and balance accounts. This is because of the way robbers attack our businesses, so we are only trying to be careful. But the government should help us. At least station patrol vehicles in strategic places in this Yenagoa as it used to be”, he said.
A resident of Yenagoa, Gina Terrance, said the situation may get worse as the Christmas season approaches and urged the government to wake up to its responsibility.
She said: “We should expect to see more of these criminal activities as Christmas and New Year approaches. People are hungry and desperate. We have a major problem in the state which is hunger. No job, no empowerment programmes, so these crimes are expected.
“I appeal to the government to do something, it is important they provide means for the youths so that those involved in crime will turn from it. We can’t continue like this. Bayelsa youths need empowerment”.
There are unconfirmed reports that the owner of a new supermarket in the state capital was recently abducted by unknown gunmen, few days after the launch of the mega shopping complex located around the Kpansia area of Yenagoa.
The State Police Command recently rolled out some measures including a 10pm curfew for entry and exit into the state and the reinforcement of the ban on tinted vehicle glasses and covered number plates, as part of measures to curb the menace of criminal gangs.