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Vandalism: FCTA, NAN to partner on sensitisation

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By Salisu Sani-Idris

Abuja:  The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has expressed its commitment to partnering with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in sensitising Abuja residents on their expected roles in the protection of critical national infrastructure.

The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, said this when the management of the agency led by its Managing Director, Mr Buki Ponle, paid a courtesy call on the minister in Abuja.

Bello said NAN, being a manager of public information, could use its vast reach to publicise the administration’s initiatives, especially the fight against acts of vandalism on infrastructure such as manhole covers, streetlight fittings and rail tracks.

The minister, who emphasised the importance of the manholes in housing critical telecommunication infrastructure, said FCTA was ready to partner with the media on the sensitisation drive.

” The critical thing is this issue of sensitisation. I think you (NAN) have a platform really that will be very effective in this sensitisation and we have a lot of materials which we can make available to you.

” I wish to inform you that hope is not lost with respect to the issue of manhole covers because we are using a lot of composite materials as an alternative.

” We are trying to also strengthen enforcement.

” Generally in the past, most people tended to assume it to be just a minor nuisance and crime not knowing that it is a very dangerous one because these manhole covers, especially for the telecommunications docks, are housing a very critical national infrastructure,” Bello said.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, said the administration was worried about the negative attitude of some residents toward protection of public infrastructure

” Some of our worries had been variously expressed by the minister even at high profile meetings.

” Many of us do not show concern for these infrastructure because these things are not removed by angels, but by humans and they do it at times in the glare of people,” Adesola said.

He said the administration had experimented with various options to protect manhole covers, adding that it had used a mixture of cement, sand and iron that would not be attractive to the vandals.

Adesola, however, lamented that some of the alternatives had failed to deter vandals.

Ponle, in his remarks, said that NAN would do all it could to partner with the FCTA to ensure that it achieved the lofty objective of enlightening residents on preservation and protection of infrastructure.

The NAN managing director, who said the agency was concerned about removal of manhole covers in the territory, reiterated the determination of the agency to partner with FCTA on advocacy.(NAN)
(Edited by Mufutau Ojo)