By Daniel Tyokua
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Bello, has disclosed that the FCT Administration needs the sum of N2.6 billion to replace infrastructure vandalised by criminals.
He stated this during a town hall meeting organised by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, on Monday in Abuja.
Bello said that recent findings revealed that 400 foul water manholes covers, 582 storm water covers and 23,210 gully pot covers were damaged in the territory.
The minister revealed that others include 467 water board inspection chamber covers, 47 fire hydrant covers and 756 telecom duct covers.
He said that public assets destruction constitutes a serious health and security challenges in the Federal Capital Territory.
Bello regretted that the destruction of water board inspection chamber covers had adverse effect on water supply in the territory.
“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 (blackout) occurs simply because somebody decides to dig out the cables,’’ Bello said.
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 said.
The President, Nigeria Society of Engineers, Mr Babagana Mohammed advised the minister to replaced the stolen items with plastic ones.
Mohammed said that this would discourage vandals from stealing them.