The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Bello, says the FCT Administration needs N2.6 billion to replace 25,462 assets vandalised in the territory.
Mr Bello disclosed this on Monday in Abuja at a Town Hall meeting organised by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
He explained that recent findings revealed that 400 foul water manholes covers, 582 storm water covers and 23,210 gully pot covers were vandalised in the territory.
He said that others were 467 water board inspection chamber covers, 47 fire hydrant covers and 756 telecom duct covers.
He said public asset destruction constitutes serious health and security challenges in the FCT.
Mr Bello noted that the destruction of water board inspection chamber covers had adverse effects on water supply in the territory.
“Just by way of statistics, a few weeks ago, we did some checks and we realised that we needed to replace immediately 400 manholes cover, 582 stormwater covers, 23,210 gully pot covers, 467 water board inspection chamber covers, 47 fire hydrant covers, and 756 telecom duct covers.
“Overall, we are talking of over 25,000 covers of one form or the other and these are critical public assets.
“This is just one aspect. In some of the streets, you notice blackouts sometimes and you think it is a public blackout, it is not.
“It (blackout) occurs simply because somebody decides to dig out the cables,’’ Mr Bello said.
The minister called on security agencies not to see vandalism of public assets as a minor crime because it constitutes threat to lives.
“It is very important that security agencies consider that very important. The FCTA had banned scavengers for almost five years now,’’ he said.
The President, Nigeria Society of Engineers, Babagana Mohammed, advised the minister to replace the stolen items with plastic ones.
Mr Mohammed said this would discourage vandals from stealing them.