The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, has said the FCT Administration (FCTA) needs N2.6 billion to replace vandalised infrastructure in the capital city, Abuja.
Malam Bello who made the disclosure at a townhall meeting organised by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture on Monday in Abuja, said 25,462 assets have been stolen.
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He said, “Just by way of statistics, a few weeks ago we did some checks and we realised that we need to replace immediately 400 manhole covers, 582 stormwater 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 streets 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.”
The minister stressed that the damage of water board inspection chamber covers had adverse effects on water supply in the territory.
He, therefore, charged security agencies not to see vandalism of public assets as a minor crime because it constituted threat to lives.
He charged that, “It is very important that going forward security agencies should consider that very important. The FCTA has banned scavengers for almost five years now.’’ The President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mr Babagana Mohammed, advised the minister to replace the stolen covers with plastic ones, noting that the plastic ones would discourage vandals.