NSCDC deploys tactical team to track, arrest vandals of manhole covers in FCT
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has promised to eradicate the incessant thievery of manhole covers by vandals in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
A statement by the Corps’ Director, Public Relations, Mr Olusola Odumosu, revealed that a tactical team had been deployed on Monday to curb the menace.
The NSCDC Commandant General (CG), Dr Ahmed Audi, during a visit to FCT Minister, Mr Muhammad Bello, expressed concerns over the vandalism of public infrastructures especially manhole covers in the FCT.
“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.
“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 occur even on presidential routes.
“I assure you that we will increase surveillance on manholes and deploy our tactical team for public infrastructure protection,” Audi told the minister.
Audi commended NSCDC FCT Command for its recent arrest of some scavengers popular 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 regularly survey and give protection to manholes which has become death traps in some parts of the city.
“We are going to liase and work closely with the Director of Security and Social Service Administration 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,” the CG said.
Audi appreciated the FCT minister for the donation of operational vehicles to the FCT Command of the corps.
Responding, the FCT Minister, congratulated the management, officers and men of NSCDC for their efforts in ensuring national security.
Bello said that due to the scale and size of the FCT, deployment of NSCDC tactical team is highly imperative.
“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.
“The level of infrastructure development in the FCT is incomparable to anywhere in the country and anything you see here in terms of infrastructure is very expensive, 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, for traffic intersections, cables, rails and bridges all are being vandalised,” the minister said.
He lamented the scale of expenditure incurred to maintain 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 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 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,” he said.
Bello further said that fibre optics cables are also being damaged by the theft of manhole covers which when exposed to weather elements impacts on the quality of life, telecommunications services and Internet speed.
“If you look at the Gwarimpa axis, we have deployed solar street lights but they have started vandalising them, the multiplier effects is bad and it requires a lot of concerted efforts for it to be minimised,” he added.
He assured continuous partnership and provision of needed support such as operational vehicles and other equipment to achieve success.