By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola ,lamented on the rate as which some unpatriotic Nigerians are damaging and vandalizing public properties across the nation.
Fashola made the appeal during his presentation at the Townhall Meeting on Protecting Public Infrastructure organized by the Federal Ministry of Information, which took place on Monday in Abuja.
He called on those engaged in such destruction act to desists from doing so .
The minister noted all that no nation grows beyond the capacity of its infrastructure.
He said, “our ability to grow, to develop and to prosper, to get education and essentially to live a good life is tied to quality and quantity of Infrastructure that we have.
According to a statement issued and signed by Boade Akinola Director press and Public Relations, said the minister explained that,properties damaged under the purview of his Ministry .
This are overview of bridges across the nation such as Otedola and Kara bridges in Lagos, Tamburawa Bridge in Kano among others which would respectively will cost 3.6 billion Naira for repairs .
He emphasized that these money could have been expended on other sectors such as health, education among others .
Fashola gave an insight on how bridges are abused such as conversion of spaces under the bridge to shops and the use of parking spaces for businesses.
“the Ministry had started the process of recovery of all these spaces with the aim of ensuring that they are utilized for their legitimate purposes”.
He condemned the vandalism of signages on the Federal Highways across the country.
He explained that “Signages have begun to reappear on the nation’s highways but these signages have become targets of some people and turned to billboards for campaign.”
The Minister decried on how people build bumps on Federal Highways, said this unlawful act is dangerous to road users.
He noted that though there are existing laws to punish these criminal acts but they were no longer realistic in viewof the economic changes that have taken place .
He called for a quick amendment of the laws so that offenders could be adequately punished.
Fashola also called upon the citizens to take responsibility over government properties and stand up against vandalism and willful destruction of the common wealth of the country.
Earlier,In his welcome address the Minister of Information and Culture Lai Muhammed,said the aim of the Townhall meeting was to bridge the gap between the Government and the people.
Lai said infrastructure deficit was one of the challenges facing the country and the current administration had invested hugely on it despite the limited resources.
He pointed out that, the Federal Government had invested heavily in providing new infrastructure,reconstruction and rehabilitating of existing ones.”
According him, in recent times such laudable efforts of the government were being thwarted by some unpatriotic citizens through wanton destruction of critical infrastructure thereby depriving the greater citizenry for whose benefits these projects and services are provided.
Similarly,The Ministers of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammed Bello also took turn to reveal the negative impact and cost of vandalism and destruction of public properties under the purview of their respective Ministry.
Meanwhile, stakeholders at the town hall meeting suggested that stiffer laws against such crimes should be passed by the National Assembly, Traditional Rulers should be involved in the security of public