The Federal Government has ordered security agencies to beef up surveillance patrols around the second Niger Bridge and its surroundings to prevent further vandalisation.
Mr Mahmuda Mamman, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, disclosed this on Monday in Asaba while inspecting the bridge which was being vandalised.
”We came here purposely to see the level of vandalisation, and to also interface with the people and take the necessary measures to avoid recurrence.
”We have also interfaced with the contractor handling the project, Julius Berger, and I must say it is really unfortunate.
”We have, however, engaged and written to security agencies, asking them to intensify surveillance activities along the bridge so that this does not happen again,” he said.
The permanent secretary also called on host communities in Anambra and Delta states to engage in more sensitisation/advocacy against the vandalisation of the bridge.
Mamman condemned the removal of some metal components from the bridge by vandals, but said that safeguarding national assets could not be left to the security agencies alone.
“The host communities also have roles to play in that regard,’’ he said.
The permanent secretary explained that the bridge was a massive infrastructure put in place by the Federal Government to ease movement of goods and services for Nigerians.
”The Federal Government has actually done what it is supposed to do.
”But at the same time, the host communities have the responsibility of protecting and safeguarding the bridge, because safeguarding and protecting national assets is a collective responsibility.
”We also believe that as soon as the ministers are appointed, they will also embark on sensitisation/advocacy visits to the two governors of Anambra and Delta for them to own the project.”
On some of the challenges hindering the completion of the project, Mamman said,” one of the challenges hindering the completion of this project is security challenge.
”With the recent development, we are hoping that with the commitment the contractor has given to us, in the next three months everything about the second Niger bridge will be completed.”
On his part, the Director, Highways, Bridge and Design, Mr Omotayo Awosanya, who decried the rate of vandalisation, advised the host communities to own the project by safeguarding and protecting it.
He said that the host communities are the immediate beneficiaries of the project, adding that the bridge would not only increase the volume of trade in the area, but also boost the sources of livelihood of the people.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that former President Muhammadu Buhari, on May 23, inaugurated the bridge linking Asaba and Onitsha in Delta and Anambra.
Since then, however, the metal components of the bridge are being vandalised.
Source: News Agency of Nigeria