By Stanley Onyekwere
The replacement of 25,462 vandalised assets in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCTA) will gulp the sum of N2.6 billion, according to the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello.
Bello noted that recent findings revealed that 400 foul water manholes covers, 582 storm water covers and 23,210 gully pot covers were vandalised in the Territory.
While making this disclosure at a Town Hall meeting organised by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, yesterday, in Abuja, the Minister added that others include: 467 water board inspection chamber covers, 47 fire hydrant covers and 756 telecom duct covers.
Stressing that destruction of public assets constitutes a serious health and security challenges, Bello noted that the destruction of water board inspection chamber covers had adverse effect on water supply in the Territory.
According to him, “Just by way of statistics, a few weeks ago we did some checks and we realised that we needed to replace immediately 400 manholes cover, 582 storm water covers, 23,210 gully pot covers, 467 water board inspection chamber covers, 47 fire hydrant covers, and 756 telecom duct covers.
“Overall, we are talking of over 25,000 covers of one form or the other and these are critical public assets.
“This is just one aspect. Any of the street you notice blackout sometimes and you think it is public blackout, it is not, it occurs simply because somebody decides to dig out the cables”.
Furthermore, the Minister called on security agencies not to see vandalism of public assets as minor crime because it constitutes threat to lives.
It is very important that going forward security agencies should consider that very important. The FCTA had banned scavengers for almost five years now’’, he stated.
Similarly, the President, Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), Babagana Mohammed advised the minister to replace the stolen items with plastic ones, as it would discourage vandals from stealing them.