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Vandalism: FG tightens security on Third Mainland Bridge

The Federal Ministry of Works says it is working with the police to tighten security and stop vandalism on the Third Mainland Bridge to save the public infrastructure.

The Federal Controller of Works, Lagos, Mrs Olukorede Kesha, gave the assurance in an interview with NAN on Sunday in Lagos.

Operatives of the Rapid Response Squad of the police command in Lagos State had on Friday arrested a suspected vandal removing LED road stud lights on the newly-renovated Third Mainland Bridge.

According to the police, the suspect had already removed 10 of the lights before he was caught by policemen on patrol.

Kesha said that the the ministry would not tolerate any vandalism on public infrastructure.

She said that police trucks had been stationed on the bridge to allow officers to quickly respond to incidents and check vandalism.

She said: “We have written to the commissioner of police to ensure more surveillance on the Third Mainland Bridge, and we have stationed police trucks on the bridge.

“Police officers now patrol the bridge more frequently; this increased security measures have led to the arrest of a number of miscreants, who were vandalising public property.

“We saw that the cat eye lights were vandalised, and the vandals were promptly arrested and taken to police custody.

“More miscreants were also arrested for vandalism even on Monday. This shows a strong response from the authorities.

“ Our eyes are on Third Mainland Bridge.”

NAN reports that cat eye lights are small reflective markers on the road that help with visibility at night.

Kesha also regretted vandalism on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

She said: “The newly-installed street lights on Kara Bridge on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway suffered vandalism as soon as the cables were completed.

“As a result, the street lights are now standing there but cannot be used because the cables are missing.

“We are waiting for the contractors to re-do the wiring and energise it. Once the repairs are completed, we ask the Lagos State commissioner of police to increase patrol in the area to prevent further vandalism.’’

She said that the Federal Government had replaced almost all manhole covers stolen by miscreants on federal roads in Lagos State.

She said that, to prevent further theft, the ministry used Polyvinyl Chloride. (PVC) on the Third Mainland Bridge, replacing iron gratings on manholes with it.

She said that PVC was cheaper than iron gratings but it reduced overall replacement costs.

She added that PVC was potentially easier to identify and less attractive to thieves.

The federal controller of works, who expressed worry at the rate of vandalism of public infrastructure, urged vandals to repent.

She warned that anyone caught vandalising public property would be dealt with by the police.

Kesha expressed the government’s determination to keep its projects on track in spite of setbacks.

She said, “The setbacks have not, in any way, affected project implementation; the government is doing what it is supposed to do.

“We  are increasing surveillance to protect our common investments, the bridges and lights.”

She advised Nigerians to protect public property as if they were their private property.

She added that Nigerians should report any vandalism or potential threats on public property to relevant authorities.

Commenting, Mr Ayotunde Bally, the Chief Executive Officer of Dembally Ltd., a real estate development company, said that vandalism wasted resources.

“As a construction professional, I know that building infrastructure requires significant investments and efforts. Vandalism undermines these efforts,” he said.

He urged security agencies to do more to prevent vandalism.

He advised governments to engage local communities and educate them on the importance of protecting public infrastructure.

“There is need to work together to build a culture of ownership and responsibility for our national assets,” he said.

Bally said that vandalism of public property showed lack of civic responsibility, disregard for the common good, and selfishness.

He advised that law enforcement should be strengthened and more stringent penalties imposed on vandals.

Mr Chikezie Obioma, a mechanical engineer, said that vandalism had significant effects on project implementation.

He said that it could lead to delay in project implementation, as damaged infrastructure would need to be repaired or replaced, causing setbacks.

He said that vandalism would result in additional costs for repairs, replacements and security measures.

Obioma said, “Vandalism raises security concerns, requiring increased security measures to protect projects, adding to costs and logistical challenges.

“Repeated vandalism incidents can erode public trust in government projects and undermine confidence in government’s ability to deliver essential services.

“It can disrupt essential services such as power, water and transportation, negatively impacting citizens’ daily lives and the economy.

“It can deter investors and hinder economic growth, as it creates an uncertain and unstable business environment.

“It puts a strain on resources, diverting funds and personnel away from other important projects and priorities as well as undermine development efforts, hindering progress in critical sectors.”

He urged Nigerians to regard public infrastructure as theirs and take pride in maintaining them.