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Vandalisation of structures on 2nd Niger Bridge ruthless, cowardly sabotage — Umahi

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As Obi asks security operatives to arrest vandals

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By AKOR SYLVESTER-Abuja

 

Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi, has condemned the vandalisation of the expansion joints used to absorb the thermal expansions of the 2nd Niger Bridge, describing the act as ruthless and sabotage.

 

He expressed deep shock that reports of vandalization are still being recorded despite  the presence of the  private security outfit deployed  by the Federal Ministry of Works to man the area.

 

In a statement signed by the special adviser to the minister on media, Urji Uchenna Orji, “The Minister condemns in the strongest terms this ruthless destruction of the expansion joints as a deliberate act of sabotage on a key national infrastructure that has immense socio-economic benefits to the contiguous States and indeed the entire Nation.

 

“It is saddening that a human being with the right senses could destroy such a critical and strategic treasure that catalyses Nigeria’s socio-economic advancement.”

 

The statement  noted that the 2nd Niger Bridge which was handed over to the Renewed Hope administration on 12th December 2023,  after its completion, is one of the PIDF projects intended to bridge the gap in the road infrastructure yearnings of the people of the area and boost economic activities by expanding access into the southern part of Nigeria, creating vistas of tourism and trade opportunities and improving road safety along the corridor.

 

It further said it was heartrending that the facilities were being vandalized by those it described as supposing persons meant to own the benefits it serves.

 

The statement appreciated the public for the zeal of their concerns, particularly  the patriotic young  Nigerian who raised the desired alarm that trended widely in media platforms, and assured the public that a more formidable security  architecture is being activated to forestall further havoc on the facilities, while a technical team has been directed to inspect, evaluate and reinstate the damaged parts of the superstructure.

 

It enjoined all road users, residents and authorities within the 1.6km concrete box girder bridge of the 2nd Niger Bridge, the two secondary bridges of 21.7m each on Amakon village road, the cloverleaf interchange at Onitsha-Owerri road and the approach roads between Asaba, Delta State and Onitsha, Anambra State, to help keep watch against persons  who vandalize, attempt to vandalize or tamper with the road infrastructure facilities on the project, and arrest or report such persons to the nearest police station or call these hotlines – 08030986263 (SA Media)-08033389700 ( Controller of Works FMW Anambra State)- 08067736638 ( Controller of Works, FMW Delta State) or 08037056860 (Director Highways, Bridges and Design FMW).

 

The statement said the Federal Ministry of Works shall promptly and handsomely reward  any person or group who nabs or gives useful information  on the identity of perpetrators of vandalization of facilities  on the 2nd Niger Bridge or on any of the road infrastructure facilities nationwide, and shall not only ensure that such perpetrators face the full wrath  of the law of  the land but shall also weild  the long arms of the law on  those who buy or patronize such stolen facilities.

 

“States and communities  are nonetheless required to own and protect Federal  Government’s  infrastructure sited in their respective domains”, it stated. .

 

The statement reiterated the commitment  of the Renewed Hope administration of  President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in changing the road infrastructure narrative of Nigeria.

.As Obi asks security operatives to arrest vandals

Meanwhile, the 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has expressed concerns over the vandalisation of the Second Niger Bridge.

 

Obi’s statement comes in the wake of a viral video shared by a social media influencer identified as Lord Zeus, exposing the vandalism of the bridge.

 

On Monday, a video circulated on social media showed Lord Zeus narrating how some rail fittings installed on the Second Niger bridge were been uprooted and vandalised by suspected vandals.

 

Sharing the video on Monday, Lord Zeus, who stood on the bridge advised drivers to be cautious of the uprooted railings, especially at night. The video also showed some of the uprooted railings lying on the ground of the bridge.

 

Consequently, reacting in a post on Tuesday, Obi said, “I like to thank immensely the young man, Lord Zeus, driven by patriotism and courage to raise alarm on the vandalization of the second Niger bridge,”

 

Commending the individual for bringing the issue to light, the former Anambra State governor added, “The viral video of this good Nigerian copiously points out the senseless criminality and vandalism of our collective assets which is capable of causing grievous harm to members of the public if left unchecked.”

 

Obi praised Lord Zeus for taking the time to expose how the critical infrastructure of the Second Niger Bridge is being vandalized by criminals, thereby causing harm to road users and constituting a security threat to society.

 

 

“I share his concerns and that of many patriots over the constant destruction of public property, including vandalizing of railway tracks, cutting up of high voltage cables, stealing of aluminium railings on bridges, and so on,” Obi stated, highlighting the widespread issue of vandalism across various public assets.

 

Obi urged the government and security agencies to thoroughly investigate the matter and bring the perpetrators to justice.

 

“Now that this critical issue has, again, been exposed, I urge the government and security agencies to do a follow-up by investigating deeply and bringing to book, the perpetrators of such crimes.”

 

Obi stressed the importance of implementing strict disciplinary measures for those who vandalise public assets. “We must now put in place strict disciplinary measures for those who vandalise public assets.”

 

Obi also advocated for the installation of reliable surveillance systems to monitor the security of vital public infrastructure, emphasizing the availability of advanced electronic surveillance technologies in the modern age.

 

Extending his appeal to various stakeholders, Obi urged traditional rulers, community leaders, market associations, and others to mobilize a collective response.

 

“I urge our traditional rulers, community leaders, market associations, and other stakeholders to mobilize a collective response. We must work together to educate and sensitize our people on the harmful effects of such criminality, which not only undermines our economic development but also puts lives at risk,” he wrote.

 

 

Meanwhile, the Minister of Works, David Umahi, on Tuesday, issued a stern condemnation of the vandalism of the bridge. The minister labelled such an act as a cowardly attack on the nation’s progress.

 

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