NSCDC deploys team against manhole cover theft

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has vowed to deploy tactical team to end the menace of vandalism and removal of manhole covers across the Federal Capital Territory.

The Commandant-General of the corps , Dr Ahmed Audi made the commitment during a visit to the Minister of FCT, Muhammad Musa Bello, where he expressed concern about 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,” he said.

“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 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 part of such infrastructure; we are going to deploy accordingly.”

Dr Audi commended the FCT Command for its recent arrest of some scavengers, popularly called “Babanbola”, 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 patrol the city to provide protection to manholes, which have in themselves become “death traps” in some parts of Abuja.

“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,” the CG promised.

In response, The FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello, congratulated the entire management team, officers and men of NSCDC for the “well-deserved national honour and special recognition” from Mr president.

“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,” the Minister told Dr Audi.

“I pray that God continues to grant you success”, he said.

Expressing satisfaction with the FCT Commandant, NSCDC, Dr Peter Maigari, for protecting Public Infrastructure and improving security within the FCT, the minister said: “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 protection of public assets, registration, monitoring and supervision of private security companies, among other duties.”

Alhaji Bello also appealed to the CG to focus priority on public assets and infrastructure protection in the territory, adding that “the level of infrastructure development in the FCT is incomparable to anywhere in the country”.

Describing the scale of vandalism in the last few months as “unprecedented”, he mentioned the facilities worst-hit to include, manhole covers, telecommunication installations, solar panel for street lights, for traffic intersections; cables, rails and bridges.

He said the cost of restoring or replacing damaged or vandalised infrastructure has been huge, and charged the NSCDC 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,” he explained.

Reporting by Ibrahim Shuaibu; editing by Abdullahi Lamino and Tony Okerafor

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