Nigeria

Nigerian government laments ‘terrorist’ attacks on public facilities

The office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia state has been set ablaze by hoodlums.

The Federal Government on Monday expressed worry over the incessant attacks on critical public facilities such as police stations and the Independent National Electoral Commission, describing it as not just vandalism but terrorism.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said this in Abuja during a town hall meeting on protecting public infrastructure, organised in conjunction with the National Orientation Agency.

The event was attended by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN; his Transportation counterpart, Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammed Bello, and his Aviation counterpart, Hadi Sirika.

During the event, Bello said the FCT administration would “need N2.6bn to replace 25,462 assets vandalised in the FCT.”

But earlier, Mohammed said that in recent times, laudable efforts of the government had been thwarted by some unpatriotic citizens through wanton destruction of critical infrastructure.

He said, “Railway tracks are being subjected to destruction, bridge railings are being removed, manhole covers are being pilfered, streetlights and other power infrastructure, oil pipelines, telecoms facilities and critical aviation infrastructure are being damaged or stolen.

“On another level are the incessant attacks on critical public facilities such as police stations and INEC offices. As a matter of fact, the destruction of public infrastructure and facilities is not just vandalism; it is a form of terrorism.

“Removal of rail tracks can cause train derailment, with deadly consequences. Tampering with aviation infrastructure endangers the lives of air passengers. Attacks on police stations have left many police personnel dead. These are all acts of terror.”

The Minister said the town hall meeting will be the first of a three-part series that would address vandalism of public infrastructure across the country.

In his speech, Bello said recent findings revealed that 400 foul water manhole covers, 582 storm water covers and 23,210 gully pot covers were vandalised in the FCT.

“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. In some streets where blackout is noticed, one would think it is a public blackout, it is not.
It (blackout) occurs simply because somebody decides to dig out the cables.”

Bello called on security agencies not to see vandalism of public assets as a minor crime because it constituted a threat to lives.

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