Destruction Of Infrastructure Is Not Just Vandalism, It Is A Form Of Terrorism – Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed on Monday said the destruction of public infrastructure and facilities is not just vandalism, it is a form of terrorism.

Lai Mohammed said this during the town hall meeting on the protection of public infrastructure organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The Minister lamented that laudable efforts of the Federal government are being thwarted “by some unpatriotic citizens through wanton destruction of critical infrastructure.”

He said further that, “On another level is the incessant attacks on critical public facilities such as police stations and INEC offices. As a matter of fact, the destruction of public infrastructure and facilities is not just vandalism, it is a form of terrorism.

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“Removal of rail tracks can cause train derailment, with deadly consequences. Tampering with aviation infrastructure endangers the lives of air passengers. Attacks on police stations have left many police personnel dead. These are all acts of terror.”

Mr Mohammed explained that railway tracks are being subjected to wanton destruction, bridge railings are being removed, manhole covers are being pilfered, street lights and other power infrastructure, oil pipelines, telecoms facilities, and critical aviation infrastructure are being damaged or stolen – thereby endangering the lives of innocent citizens.

 

See The Full Statement Below…

SPEECH BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE,  LAI MOHAMMED, AT THE TOWN HALL MEETING ON PROTECTION OF PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE IN ABUJA ON MONDAY, 7 JUNE 2021

PROTOCOL

I welcome all our distinguished invitees to this town hall meeting on the protection of public infrastructure. I thank you all for accepting our invitation, and I look forward to a robust interaction on this topical issue.

  1. Let me remind this gathering that the Ministry of Information and Culture launched the town hall meeting series in Lagos on April 25th, 2016 to provide a platform for the Federal Government to regularly give an account of its stewardship to the people and get their feedback, thus enhancing citizens’ participation in governance. This is the 19th edition.
  2. Today’s town hall meeting is both urgent and important because it touches on an issue that is at the very core of economic growth and national development, which is public infrastructure. When public infrastructure is being targeted for destruction by some unpatriotic Nigerians, it calls for great concern and immediate action, hence our decision to organize this town hall meeting.
  3. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, Nigeria has long suffered a massive infrastructure deficit due to decades of neglect, population explosion, and the absence of maintenance culture. But since coming into office in 2015, the Muhammadu Buhari Administration has embarked on rapid economic growth with equity, i.e. people-centered economic management as well as prioritizing human capital development through enhanced social services and infrastructure development.
  4. This explains why the Federal Government deliberately adopted an inclusive development framework that spreads infrastructure to all sections of the country. Despite a drastic drop in revenues and competing priorities, especially that of tackling insecurity, the Administration has invested heavily in providing new infrastructure, in addition to reconstructing and rehabilitating existing ones.
  5. However, in recent times, such laudable efforts of the government are being thwarted by some unpatriotic citizens through wanton destruction of critical infrastructure, thereby depriving the greater citizenry – for whose benefits these projects and services are provided – from enjoying them.
  6. Railway tracks are being subjected to wanton destruction, bridge railings are being removed, manhole covers are being pilfered, street lights and other power infrastructure, oil pipelines, telecoms facilities, and critical aviation infrastructure are being damaged or stolen. Apart from endangering the lives of fellow innocent citizens, such unpatriotic acts take a toll on the government’s limited revenue, as it seeks to replace, rehabilitate or totally reconstruct such destroyed infrastructure.
  7. On another level is the incessant attacks on critical public facilities such as police stations and INEC offices. As a matter of fact, the destruction of public infrastructure and facilities is not just vandalism, it is a form of terrorism. Removal of rail tracks can cause train derailment, with deadly consequences. Tampering with aviation infrastructure endangers the lives of air passengers. Attacks on police stations have left many police personnel dead. These are all acts of terror.
  8. And this is why we have decided to organize a series of town hall meetings to address this incessant and worsening destruction of public infrastructure and facilities. In organizing these town hall meetings, our main objectives are to:

*  Create in the public mind that government property are indeed citizens’ property and so must be protected for the benefit of all.

*  Sensitize communities, especially those where infrastructure are located, to be conscious of the import of such and protect them

*   Expose, arrest and prosecute all those who engage in buying pilfered infrastructure items along with those who bring such to them to sell.

*   And sensitize the larger citizenry to support the widespread campaign on the protection and ownership of public infrastructure/assets, especially in the Railways, Roads, and Aviation sectors.

  1. Today’s town hall meeting will be the first of a 3-part series that will address the vandalism of public infrastructure across the country. A similar town hall meeting will hold in Calabar, Cross River State, to address pipeline vandalism while another one will be held in Maiduguri, Borno State, to address vandalism of power and telecommunication infrastructure.
  2. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me end by saying we should never forget this Administration’s massive investment in infrastructure since coming into office, despite the paucity of funds. It’s easy to forget now, but when this Administration came into office in 2015, the price of crude oil, which provides 80 per cent of Nigeria’s budgetary revenues and 95 percent of foreign exchange earnings, had dropped drastically and, along with it, the fund available to the government.
  3. It is therefore a monumental achievement that this Administration has, to a large extent, managed to bridge the deficit in infrastructure. As I always say, no government in the history of this country has done so much with so little! It is incumbent on us, therefore, to do everything within our power to stop the wanton destruction of public infrastructure and facilities.
  4. On this note, I want to once again thank all our invitees. This is wishing all of us a successful town hall meeting.

US Teen Gets Suspended Sentence Over Auschwitz Vandalism

A Polish court on Monday handed an American teenager a suspended one-year prison sentence for etching his name on a barrack at the former Nazi German death camp at Auschwitz, a local news agency reported.

Identified only as Raphael A., the 17-year-old rabbinical school student was arrested in early July after an employee of the Auschwitz Museum saw him use a rock to scrawl his name inside one of the barracks.

The student explained that he had seen several other words etched on the wall.

Konrad Gwozdziewicz, the presiding judge at the court in Oswiecim, southern Poland, said he had taken into account the fact that the accused was young, had expressed his regret and had no criminal record.

But he also expressed astonishment: “This act was committed by a student of a religious school for future rabbis, so by someone who should be fully aware of the importance and nature of the former Auschwitz camp,” he said.

The teenager, who did not attend the hearing, was also ordered to pay one thousand zlotys (240 euros, $280) to the Auschwitz museum, located on the grounds of the World War II-era death camp.

Last February, the Oswiecim court also handed similar suspended sentences to two 17-year-olds from Portugal for vandalism at Auschwitz.

Nazi Germany built the camp after occupying Poland during World War II.

The Holocaust site has become symbolic of Nazi Germany’s genocide of six million European Jews, one million of whom were killed at the camp from 1940 to 1945.

More than 100,000 non-Jews also died at the camp, according to the museum. An estimated 232,000 of the victims were children.

AFP

NSCDC Uncovers Cement, Fertilizer Adulteration In Bauchi

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, Bauchi State Command, has uncovered the activities of a cement adulteration syndicate.

The suspected persons are accused of producing large quantities of cement in adulterated form, by mixing the original with sand.

NSCDC Bauchi State commandant, Ibrahim Raji, reveals that the command also identified those in the business of fertilizer adulteration.

“Look at the way they are jeopardising the efforts of the government. So, you buy fertilizer but you wouldn’t know that it is mixed with sand. We have over 50 bags on the ground discovered,” he said.

Raji also decried the activities of vandals, saying they had plunged several parts of the state into darkness.

He said, “In some local government areas, there will be no light for more than three months. Why? Because the cable that is supplying light into a particular place has been vandalised.

“So, we deem it necessary to expand our activities, to expand our surveillance rate so that we will be able to get the perpetrators.”

Naval Chief Says Force Will Increase Surveillance On Waterways

navy, waterwaysThe Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, on Wednesday reiterated the need for increase and effective surveillance on the Nigerian Waterways.

As part of the efforts to improve security the naval chief visited naval formations in Delta State at the Naval Engineering College Oghara.

He said the recent activities by the militants in the region called for intensified security.

Rear Admiral Ibas explained that his tour had helped in the identification of challenges faced by men and officers in the region in the fight against oil theft, vandalisation and militancy.

‘Remain Patriotic’

He advised his men and officers to have a change of attitude in their operations to enable him actualise his new plan of addressing the menace confronting the nation’s waterways.

“You are all aware of the recent insecurity challenges in the country especially in the Niger Delta region and its impact on the economy. I have taken my officers up on the need to remain patriotic and serious with their jobs.

“I have visited some IOCs asking them the challenges they are having all on a bid to ensure that they mop up security and provide en enabling environment for the improvement of oil production,” he told reporters after the tour.

The naval chief also took time to thank officers and men of the Naval Command for their resilience and steadfastness in keeping Nigeria’s waterways void of crime.

Police Arrest Suspected Oil Vandals In Lagos

Police Arrest Oil Vandals In LagosPolice have arrested 14 suspected oil vandals alongside a Navy personnel at the Ijora area of Lagos State, southwest Nigeria.

The suspects were nabbed by men of the Lagos State Intelligence Unit of the Inspector General of Police Task Force on Vandalism.

They were arrested in the early hours of Thursday at the Ijora Olopa Jetty.

The suspected oil vandals were alleged to be illegally discharging petroleum products from a badge at anchorage to tankers also at the jetty.

Police officials at the scene declined to comment on the arrest but a reliable source told Channels Television that two of the three tankers intercepted around the jetty were loaded with 44,000 litres of suspected vandalised petroleum product each.

The source added that a directive had been given that the suspects be transferred to the Police Headquarters in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

NSCDC Boss Inaugurates Special Squad To Curb Oil Theft

NSCDCThe Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Abdullahi Muhammadu, has set up a special taskforce to clampdown on oil saboteurs.

The corps made the development known in a statement on Monday as part of efforts to stem the tide of vandalism, illegal refineries, oil theft, and illegal bunkering,

The NSCDC boss also directed the State Commandants to cooperate and work in synergy with the team assigned to their states for the special operation to halt marketers involved in diversion of petroleum products.

He said that the operation also extends to stopping filling stations selling above approved government pump price, hoarding of products, those involved in black marketing and racketeering as well as other related crimes.

Abdullahi asked the squad and other officers to live up to expectation to justify the confidence the government and the people have for the corps by ensuring that vandalism is reduced to the barest minimum.

“We are an agency of government created to tackle this onerous task of fighting the scourge of vandalism, illegal bunkering, illegal refinery, oil theft, and other allied crimes. Therefore, we will continue to fight these illicit acts diligently in ensuring that the nation is rid of these obnoxious activity perpetrated by some few individuals that have posed as an ‘enemy of the state’ as a result of greed and selfishness,” the NSCDC boss said.

Abdullahi disclosed that as at December 2015, his men had identified and destroyed over 200 illegal refineries in Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, Edo, Kogi, Ondo, Cross River, Akwa Ibom States amongst others.

He said that over 120 suspects involved in the act of vandalism and other associated crimes have been prosecuted and sentenced to various prison terms by the high courts in their respective states.

The NSCDC Commandant General added that at least 250 persons were being prosecuted presently while over 80 trucks containing petroleum products impounded with several operational equipment belonging to suspected vandals have been recovered.

Absence Of Prosecutor stalls trial of Arepo Pipeline Vandals

The trial of six men arraigned by the police over alleged vandalism of petroleum pipelines located in Arepo, Ogun State was on Tuesday stalled at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

The assistant commissioner of police, Friday Ibadin who is prosecuting the case was absent in court.

An Assistant Superintendent of Police, Justin Enang who represented him in court told presiding justice Mohammed Idris, that his boss could not be in court because he missed his flight from Abuja. He therefore sought an adjournment to enable the prosecution put its house in order.

One of the defence lawyers, G.O Nnachor faulted the excuse of the prosecution describing it as untenable. He also alleged that the police was not taking the matter seriously.

The defence team also complained that the prosecution had not served them with the proof of evidence to enable them adequately prepare their case.

The six accused persons were arraigned on the 29th of November for oil pipeline vandalism and the murder of three Engineers of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Among the accused is a 60-year-old community leader, Oluwole Reuben.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charges and are to remain in prison pending the hearing of their bail applications which Justice Idris has fixed for the 25th and 28th of January 2013 for trial with an order to the prosecutor to serve the proof of evidence on the defence

Arepo Inferno Update: Armed vandals disrupt fire-fighting operation

Once again vandals today disrupted fire fighting operations at the NNPC pipeline at the Arepo village in Ogun state.

The vandals attack forced some of the officials to run into the creeks while others ran for safety.

After several hours of disruption, NNPC officials entered into negotiations with the vandals which resulted into the withdrawal of NNPC security operatives in the operations.
At about 1pm emergency managers could then freely proceed to the scene of the fire.

Meanwhile, the Ogun state commissioner of police has visited the site alongside his men to see to bringing calm into the environment so as to allow fire fighting operations go un-hindered.

NEMA officials who were able to gain access to the site of the incident said nine vandalized points were discovered on the pipelines.

According to officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the fire which started at about 10PM Wednesday night following a gun battle between NNPC security men and confirmed pipeline vandals is still raging and has not been put under control.

An official of NEMA, Ibrahim Farinloye, expressed his fear to Channels Television on the escalation of the fire.

Efforts by the NEMA officials to get to the scene of the incident to put out the fire was bypassed after a boat was secured to ferry the NEMA officials through but due to the sporadic shooting by the vandals, the mission was cut short, according to Mr Farinloye.