The deplorable state of the annex of the headquarters of the nation’s Defence ministry in Lagos, has become a source of concern to staff of the ministry and Nigerians in general, who feel that if nothing is done about it soon, the situation may dent the image of the military. Joy Baba X-rays the matter.
The deplorable state of the Ministry of Defence, Lagos annex is daily gaining attention albeit, distastefully. There is no doubt, also that the issue aside the public opinions raised is taking a toll on workers in the said very important ministry, who are now making their plight known to the authorities concerned.
Some of them who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity said the annex which used to be a conducive working environment now exhibit unbearable tendencies which allegedly hamper activities of both civilian staff and operations of armed men of the military’s sub headquarters.
They said for instance, that the only transformer which supplies electricity to the annex has been faulty since May this year and it may only require nothing less than Forty Five thousand naira (45, 000 00) to get it fixed for it to be functional once again, instead the situation has thrown the entire premises into total darkness.
Investigation in Lagos showed that the central electricity generating plant which serves as an alternative power source is usually powered for just four hours through the working hours. Meaning such important office of the nation can only access power supply for four hours out of the twenty four hours in a day.
A reliable source at the annex said nothing has been done to put in order, a section of the annex which was formally occupied by the Nigerian Air Force Headquarters, gutted by fire some years back.
According to him that section has gradually become abandoned in the central part of the annex and this is capable of breeding snakes and other dangerous reptiles that can be harmful to members of the community.
Another ‘eye-sore’ in the said complex is the car park which is constantly flooded with water whenever it rains.
The deplorable state of the fence around the complex, he said is such that you would think it could collapse the next minute, adding that the outdated corroded burglar proof around it is also not helping matters.
The source said soldiers on duty at the main gate are on daily basis seriously exposed to various degrees of danger owing to the condition in which they operate.
“I can’t even remember the last time soldiers that man the dilapidated gate were given ballistics, helmet, bullet proof gowns or rain coats talk less of rain boots.
“These are officers meant to guard the Headquarters of the nation’s Ministry of Defence”?
Peoples Daily correspondent also gathered that when the Hon Minister, Lt Gen Aliyu Gusau paid a working visit to the Annex early this year, he was quoted to have condemned particularly the manner in which the offices operated without light for long hours; promising to look into basic renovation of the entire edifice.
Our source said however, that no form of renovation has taken place since his visit.
Therefore, the questions arising daily from various quarters about the deplorable condition under which the MOD annex in Lagos is being run include the following:
Should the nation record casualties from collapse of any part of these buildings before something would be done?
Should we allow the dreaded Boko Haram Sect to take undue advantage of this former Ministry of Defence (MOD) Headquarters dwelling in darkness, and unleash their usual terror before we would be rushing to renovate and begin to map out security strategies against a reoccurrence?
Why should ‘lack of maintenance culture’, which has almost become second nature in this country also be part of the military system?
If this annex is no longer viable to the Defence Ministry, why can’t it be scrapped so that they can focus attention on maintaining the Abuja Headquarters (Ship House)?
Or, must the President and Commander in Chief of Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria pay unscheduled visit to the annex as he did to the Nigerian Police College, Ikeja in 2012 before something will hurriedly be done?
It is therefore, expedient to call on the Honorable Minister of Defence Lt Gen Aliyu Gusau, and his state counterpart, Senator Musliu Obanikoro to use their good office to put in place necessary measures towards rescuing the present dilapidated former Headquarters of the Defence Ministry in Lagos State, for the benefit of Nigeria or close it up.