by Moses Orjime
Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) in Abuja and other stakeholders have held a dialogue over the abuse and destruction of public infrastructure in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
They said the provision of infrastructure and other critical assets is one of the main responsibilities of the government considering their significance to national development.
NSE said the government has invested huge resources to build and maintain public infrastructure across Nigeria in the expectation that community members residing in these areas where the infrastructure are domiciled will take special interest in protecting and preserving them.
At a one-day stakeholders’ workshop on public infrastructure abuse and vandalism in FCT, the president of NSE, Engr Tasiu Gidari Wudil, said, “Infrastructure vandalism is synonymous with vandalism against the state.”
He said because public resources are used to provide infrastructure when they are vandalised it is comparable to the insurgency ravaging the country.
The NSE president who was represented by the director of Mass Housing PPP FCDA, Engr Emmanuel Oluwadamisi said, “I think this is a good topic to discuss for awareness creation and for collective protection of our infrastructure. It belongs to us and these are the things that we are going to keep for our upcoming generations. So, if we are going to spend time and energy to destroy what we have built, it is as good as not building it in the first place.
“So, I want us to use this forum to discuss this matter extensively and give it all the attention and publicity that it needs, especially our colleagues in the security agencies to see how they can help us to maneuver around this issue.”
Also, the executive secretary of FCDA, Engr Shehu Hadi Ahmed, said the security agencies with responsibility of protecting critical infrastructure should also endeavour to scale up the activities of tackling this ugly menace.
Ahmed, who was represented by the director of engineering services in the FCDA, Engr Ezeoba said, “It is important to note that the sources of critical infrastructure protection rely on strong and meaningful partnership among us stakeholders.
“I therefore, challenge also most especially engineers who are responsible for this infrastructure and other stakeholders including security agencies to rise up to challenges and find means of covering this instant abuse and vandalism of public infrastructure,” he said.
Earlier, the chairman Abuja branch of NSE, Engr Ben Osy Okoh, said infrastructure is a vision for development and it provides services that enable the society to function and its economy.
He said the that it is estimated that the country will require about $800 billion annually for ten years to close infrastructure gap. He added that this deficit has contributed to limiting Nigeria’s growth and competitive abilities globally. (Leadership)