Hoodlums on Wednesday night attacked the Federal Government’s Conditional Cash Transfer disbursement team at Ajase-Ipo, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the team was earlier at the council secretariat in Omu-Aran, where no fewer than 511 beneficiaries received N20,000 each across the three wards in the community.
The team later left Omu-Aran to pay the beneficiaries in the eight other wards of the council before it was attacked at Ajase-Ipo at about 8pm.
No fewer than 1,568 beneficiaries were expected to benefit from the CCT across the 11 wards of Irepodun local council of the state.
NAN gathered that it took the intervention of personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps attached to the team who fired into the air to scare away the hoodlums.
The exercise was said to have ended abruptly as many scampered in different directions for safety.
NAN also gathered that no member of the team was hurt during the attack although some beneficiaries were said to have lost their stipend to the hoodlums.
An eyewitness told NAN that the disbursement had commenced smoothly at Ajase-Ipo before the hoodlums started throwing stones at the team some 10 minutes into the exercise.
The eyewitness, also a beneficiary and who preferred anonymity, said he was about leaving the venue after collecting his stipend when the hoodlums launched the attack.
He said: “I had just collected my money when these hoodlums stormed the venue and started throwing stones.
“Everyone panicked and started running in different directions.
“But the security men on ground immediately responded and fired into the air as they were joined by more policemen in the process.”
Tawakalitu Sadiq, the Cash Transfer Officer in the Kwara State Ministry of Women Affairs, who led the CCT team, told NAN that it was by divine intervention that members of the team escaped the attack unhurt.
Sadiq said: “Ajase-Ipo happened to be the last ward for the exercise in Irepodun Local Government Area and since there was no problem in other wards, I had to leave the team at Ajase-Ipo for Ilorin.
“It was the council that alerted me that hoodlums had attacked our people and I had to rush back.
“We thank God our men escaped unhurt as policemen were immediately mobilised to the scene to complement the security men on the ground.”
Sadiq promised that the disbursement exercise would resume as soon as adequate security was provided.
She said: “We are already in touch with the traditional ruler of Ajase-Ipo, Oba Sikiru Sanni, and he promised to liaise with the police and other security agencies to enable the exercise to resume.”
Ajayi Okasanmi, spokesman of the Kwara State Police Command, said he was yet to be briefed on the development.
But Ayeni Olasunkanmi, the NSCDC Public Relations Officer in the state, confirmed the incident to NAN, saying that investigation was ongoing.