Written by David Ugbabe
The Minister of FCT, Abuja, Mohammad Bello, has stated that his administration is trying to raise N2.6 billion to replace the manholes following the discovery of 582 storm water covers, 36, 310 gully port covers, 457 water board inspecting chamber covers, 47 hydrant covers, 756 telecommunications dot covers, amounting to 25,000 covers of different types that have been been vandalized.
This was made known in a town hall meeting organized by the Ministry of Information and Culture in Abuja, on protection of public infrastructure the Federal Government lamented over the destruction of critical infrastructure being developed by government. The Minister, Lai Mohammed who was at the meeting commented on the recent destruction and attacks on police stations, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) offices as well as destruction of critical public infrastructure and facilities stating that such acts should not be considered as vandalism, but a form of terrorism. He listed such items as railway tracks, bridge railings, manhole covers, streetlights and power infrastructure such as oil pipelines, telecoms facilities and critical aviation groundwork.
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He noted that such acts were endangering lives and described such acts as “unpatriotic acts” while adding that it is taking a huge toll on government’s revenue to replace, rehabilitate or reconstruct such destroyed. He said, “Removal of rail tracks can cause train derailment, with deadly consequences, just as tampering with aviation infrastructure endangers the lives of passengers.” He also added that, “Apart from endangering the lives of innocent citizens, such unpatriotic acts take a huge toll on government’s revenue to replace, rehabilitate or reconstruct such destroyed.
“Scores of police officers have been killed during attacks on police stations. These are acts of terrorism. When public infrastructure are being targeted for destruction, it calls for great concern and immediate action, hence our decision to organize this town hall meeting,” he stated.
Mohammed pointed out that the Buhari administration had managed to bridge the infrastructure deficit gap as against the little achievement made by the previous government. He therefore reiterated that the Federal Government would do everything within its power to stop the destruction of public infrastructure and facilities by exposing, arresting and prosecuting those who steal or buy stolen items.
The Minster of Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amechi present at the meeting said urged the National Assembly to make laws that would ensure appropriate penalties for people who vandalize public infrastructure.