The FCT Administration Transport Secretariat (FCTA) has vowed to prosecute five suspected vandals who were arrested in the early hours of Wednesday morning while vandalising the facilities of the rail track of the Abuja Light Rail project.
The suspected criminals who specialised in vandalising perimeter fences, communication cables, and rail track cables were arrested by the vigilant security personnel assigned to guard the railway facilities.
The FCT Mandate Secretary, Transportation Secretariat, Uboku Nyah, disclosed this to newsmen on Thursday when he visited the various sections of the vandalized rail track at Kukwuaba and said such an act of sabotage from the citizenry was highly condemnable.
Nyah wondered why residents, for whom the government expended so many funds to provide social infrastructure to improve their living conditions, would be involved in sabotaging the effort by vandalising them.
He vowed that he would ensure that appropriate authorities institute legal actions against the suspects to deter others.
According to Nyah: “Over the past few days, the FCT Minister has been emphasising the importance of efficient transportation, particularly the rail transportation, in line with the vision of the renewed hope agenda of the President, in providing cheap and safe transportation for our people. The anchor of that is rail transportation, which can move people massively from one place to another, and the government has invested heavily in that infrastructure.
“We are sad to come and see what has happened. We got this report in the office that there has been a lot of vandalisation on our protective fences, tracks, and communication cables. We came to see what has been happening, and we can confirm what we have seen.
It is sad and very condemnable that the people we are working for are doing this because they didn’t come from outer space to cause this level of vandalisation.
“What this means is that we have to spend double and delay the project. We had expected that within the year, the rail services would start. But, when we came here and saw that even the cables and the protective fences have been vandalised by our people, it is something that takes us back, and it is criminal for anybody to do this. That is why the Minister of FCT and the government of FCT don’t take it lightly, as the full weight of the law will be visited on the people.
“Fortunately, a few of these people have been taken in, and whatever is due legally will be done to discourage other people from acting against the interest of the government and the people.”
General Supervisor, SEGAD Security Japhet MaiKeffi, narrating how the arrest was effected, said he and his men were on their routine patrol when they sighted the suspects digging the rail tracks to remove the armoured cables.
He added that his team immediately swung into action by chasing the suspected vandals, who took to their heels to escape arrest that night. But their vigilance and strategy paid off in the early hours of Wednesday when the unfortunate suspects ran into their ambush on their way to continue their criminal activities.
He said: “Day before yesterday, we went out for general patrol, so around 2:10 am, we saw four young people (suspects) digging the rail tracks to remove the armoured cables inside the bush; immediately we parked and flashed torchlight, and immediately they noticed us, they started running, we began chasing them.
“And we laid ambushed inside the bush while waiting for them, till about 5:05 A.m., then one of them was seen coming out with a shovel in his hand, that was when we immediately arrested him.
He added that they used the arrested suspect’s phone to track others to their residences in a Baba-bola (scavengers) settlement at Gwagwa, where they were all arrested and taken into custody.”
The lead member of the gang, who gave his name as Salisu Ibrahim and spoke in the Hausa language, narrated that: “On our way to work(cable vandalism)in the middle of the night, we sighted a torch light from afar, and we guessed it must be coming from the security personnel assigned to guard the railway facilities. I am actually a motor mechanic, but I had to switch to vandalism due to lack of a job and its lucrativeness.
“As we attempted to approach them to clear ourselves, suddenly a vehicle started chasing us, and in our confused state, we took to our heels to escape from the security men.
“We thought everything was over the next morning and decided to resume from where we stopped the previous night, but unfortunately, we walked into their ambush, and I was apprehended.
“Our work is to vandalise, steal the cables, and sell, and this is the fourth time I’ve been involved in the activity.”
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