Attacks on police, INEC facilities, acts of terrorism, FG declares

FCT needs N2.6b to replace stolen infrastructure, says minister

Ministers, Rotimi Amaechi (Transportation) (left); Babatunde Fashola (Works and Housing); Lai Mohammed (Information and Culture); Mohammed Bello (Federal Capital Territory) and Hadi Sirika (Aviation) during a town hall meeting on Protecting Public Infrastructure, held in Abuja…yesterday.

The Federal Government, yesterday, declared that attacks on police stations, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) offices, and destruction of critical public infrastructure and facilities should not be considered as vandalism, but a form of terrorism. It lamented that the government’s efforts were being frustrated by those it described as “unpatriotic citizens” through wanton destruction of critical infrastructure, thereby depriving Nigerians of enjoying such infrastructure. Consequently, the Federal Government has threatened to 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. Speaking at a town hall meeting on the protection of public infrastructure organized by the Ministry of Information and Culture in Abuja, the Minister, Lai Mohammed lamented that critical infrastructure being developed by the government were being destroyed He listed such items as railway tracks, bridge railings, manhole covers, streetlights, and power infrastructures such as oil pipelines, telecoms facilities, and critical aviation groundwork. He noted that Nigeria had long suffered a massive infrastructure deficit due to decades of neglect, population explosion, and lack of maintenance culture, but since 2015, the Muhammadu Buhari administration embarked on rapid economic development anchored on accountability and equity. Mohammed pointed out that the Buhari administration had managed to bridge the infrastructure deficit gap, stressing that previous governments did little hence the need to do everything possible to stop the destruction of public infrastructure and facilities. “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 infrastructure. Removal of rail tracks can cause train derailment, with deadly consequences, just as tampering with aviation infrastructure endangers the lives of passengers. “Scores of police officers have been killed during attacks on police stations. These are acts of terrorism. When public infrastructure is being targeted for destruction, it calls for great concern and immediate action, hence our decision to organize this town hall meeting,” he stated. MEANWHILE, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja would require about N2.6 billion to replace over 400 vandalized manhole covers in the capital city. Minister of FCT, Mohammad Bello, who decried the vandalism of manhole covers and telecommunication facilities in the FCT said after a recent study, it was discovered that FCT needed to recover 582 stormwater 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. Bello disclosed that the FCT administration was trying to raise N2.6 billion to replace the manholes. Also speaking, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amechi lamented the vandalization of rail infrastructure and urged the National Assembly to make laws that would ensure appropriate penalties for people who vandalize public infrastructure.

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