By Sarah NEGEDU
Security agencies in the Federal Capital Territory have been asked to crackdown on the actual sponsors of vandals in the territory, in order to check the spate of vandalisation of critical national assets in the FCT.FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, who gave the charge when he received the management team of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, revealed that vandalism has become a sophisticated crime with a network of criminals on its value chain.The minister made the call against the backdrop of widespread vandalism of manhole covers, underground electrical cables and steel railings of pedestrian walkways and bridges in Abuja.
He lamented that national assets like telecommunication ducts, manhole covers, street lights, solar panels at traffic intersections and some facilities at the Abuja light rail project are being removed by these destructive elements, causing huge loss to government.
Bello called on the NSCDC to work in conjunction with other security agencies to not only arrest the vandals but also their sponsors.
“It is a sophisticated and complicated value chain. So far the arrest of the vandals has been at the lowest level, the street urchins. But I think it is very important now that your operations and investigations really need to identify the real culprits and beneficiaries.
“Where are the vandalized items sold? Where is the economic value chain? Because the amount of damage is enormous. It affects us all as a people because needed resources are recycled and recycled just to replace vandalized equipment,” the minister lamented.
While assuring the NSCDC of the FCT Administration’s support, the minister also calling for improved synergy amongst the various security agencies for the overall security of the territory.
He also commended the NSCDC for the establishment of a rapid response squad as well as an all-female squads while also commending the activities of the FCT Command for its activities within the FCT Security Committee.
Stressing the importance of the NSCDC to the security architecture of the territory, the minister said that the corps along with the police and the DSS formed the tripod on which security in the FCT was anchored and expressed hope that this will continue under the new commandant general.
Earlier, the new Commandant General of the NSCDC, Ahmed Audi, who was making his first visit to the FCTA since his appointment, commended the minister for all the support the NSCDC has enjoyed from the FCTA.
The CG also stressed the need for a robust partnership that involves more information sharing between the two organisations for the overall safety of all residents of the FCT.
He further said that as a means of putting an end to armed banditry, the NSCDC has launched an all women squad to focus on bandits that specialize in the kidnap and rape of women, while more attention is being given, by the NSCDC, to secure public schools as well as farmers and farms across the country.