NSCDC parners FCT to tackle manhole cover theft
Following the increasing rate of vandalism and removal of manhole covers across the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the minister of the FCT, Muhammad Bello has sought the assistance of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, (NSCDC), to tackle the menace.
Commandant General of the Corps associate professor Ahmed Audi, made this know while playing host to the minister who paid him a courtesy visit at the corps headquarters in Abuja.
In a statement made available by the Public Relations Officer, (PRO), of the corps, Olusola Odumosu, Audi said the corps is ready to deal with the menace head-on.
He said the agency will deploy its tactical team to tackle the disturbing criminal trend of vandalism of public infrastructure in the city, especially manhole covers.
“We are ready to deploy a very robust security strategy to stop manhole theft, this is very disturbing and it has to stop.
“We have seen that stealing of these items occurs even on presidential routes, I assure you that we will increase surveillance on those manholes and deploy our tactical team for public infrastructure protection.
“We are in charge of protecting critical national assets and infrastructure and manholes are considered as part of such infrastructure, we are going to deploy accordingly”, the CG said.
He commended the FCT Command of the corps for its recent arrest of some scavengers popularly called “Baban bola” caught removing manhole covers and vandalising other public utilities in the FCT.
He charged the Command to step up efforts by deploying a robust team that will be going around to give protection to manholes which have become death traps in some parts of the city.
Audi said, “We are going to liaise and work closely with the Director of security and SSA on security to identify vulnerable areas so that we can deploy our team of specialised intelligence officers who have just returned from training to give us information.”
On his part, Bello said, “Since your appointment, we have seen how you have repositioned the Corps and how you are making a lot of efforts along all facets to improve the service, I pray that God continues to grant you success”.
The minister congratulated the CG and by extension, the entire management team, officers and men of NSCDC for the well-deserved national honour and special recognition by Mr president.
He express satisfaction with the FCT Commandant of the NSCDC, Dr Peter Maigari with respect to public infrastructure protection and improved security in the FCT.
“Because of the scale and size of the FCT, your organisation needs additional support and the deployment of your tactical team is very important.
“Of course, your core mandate includes the protection of public assets, registration, monitoring and supervision of private security companies among other duties.
“Due to the unique position of the FCT, I want to suggest that you really deploy extra men and women across the city to target infrastructure protection,” he urged.
Bello pointed out that “The level of infrastructure development in the FCT is incomparable to any part of the country therefore “anything you see here in terms of infrastructure is very expensive and of the highest quality and standards.
“The scale of vandalism in the last few months is unprecedented, manhole covers, telecommunication installations, solar panels for street lights, traffic intersections, cables, rails and bridges all are being vandalised.
“And simply because these facilities are very expensive, we are very pleased that you are committing your service to provide a tactical team to do it,” he said.
He lamented the scale of expenditure incurred to maintain damaged or vandalised infrastructure and charged the Corps to go a step further by targeting the markets where these items are sold.
“On manhole alone, we have an expenditure of about N3 billion for us to replace what has been stolen and because they are specialised items, even if you have the money on the ground, you can’t get them, it has to be ordered, it has to be fabricated.
“And going forward, I think the Corps has to target the markets and that requires a tremendous amount of intelligence gathering so that, you are able to look at the entire value chain.
“Those that steal the items sell them somewhere and most times, they are being transported outside Abuja, but they must have a place they store them before transportation.
“I’m sure with the calibre of intelligence staff that you have, if your men work assiduously on this, a lot of success would be recorded,” the minister noted.