By Bukar Bolori
Operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have arrested 15 suspected vandals, scavengers and miscreants who have allegedly made critical infrastructure within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja their targeted business.
Parading the suspects at the FCT Command Headquarters, the FCT Commandant, Olusola Odumosu said the clampdown was part of the ongoing efforts to combat crime and criminal activities within the Federal Capital Territory.
He revealed that the suspects were caught in different parts of the territory in the wee hours of the night committing various forms of crimes ranging from vandalism of public property, stealing, snatching of bags, phones and attacking innocent citizens under the guise of scavenging.
Odumosu said items recovered from the suspects are; burglary irons, one Lexus ES 330 vehicle used in conveying stolen items, vandalised transmission cables, climbing belt, hammer, screw driver, three measuring tapes, four spanners, compass, helmet, three reflective jackets, hacksaw, sets of ladies earrings, bags, one cart and one pumping machine.
Odumosu said that the apprehended suspects will be prosecuted according to their offences and in accordance with the law to make them accountable for their actions and to serve as a deterrent to others.
He added that upon interrogation, one of the suspects caught vandalizing telecommunication cables at Wuse Zone 4 area of the FCT, identified himself as an engineer carrying out maintenance work for a supposed registered engineering company.
Odumosu said he was however unable to provide satisfactory responses, documents or permit to ascertain his claim to undertake the job. His two other accomplices are at large but efforts are ongoing to capture the fleeing suspects.
He noted that the FCT would not tolerate activities such as these which had led to significant degradation of critical assets and public utilities thereby causing potential risks to public safety.
He said: “The act of vandalism is not only a crime but it also inhibits effective functioning of critical infrastructure.
“Critical infrastructures are vital to the survival of our nation, and any encumbrance on them poses great risk to our security, safety and other essential services.”
He explained that the Corps’ efforts is also aimed towards enforcing the ban against scavenging activities within the city centre where major critical national assets and infrastructure are installed.
He said: “We are resolute in enforcing this ban, safeguarding public infrastructure in the FCT and this effort would be sustained till we achieve sanity in the territory.
“These criminals and their partners now specialize in the vandalism, theft and illegal sales of vandalized public infrastructure business chain. “We are going to take more robust measures to address this menace in the FCT once and for all,” he said.
Odumosu warned that the NSCDC will not tolerate any criminal activities that will jeopardise government efforts in providing security and other social amenities in the FCT.
He further warned persons with criminal intents to relocate from Abuja or desist from engaging in illegal and unproductive ventures as violators would be made to face severe consequences.
While appreciating the support and cooperation of the general public, the Commandant encouraged residents to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities around critical installations to the Corps for appropriate action.
He added that the protection of residents and critical infrastructure was of paramount importance to the Corps.