Federal Ministry of Works and Housing (FMWH) Federal Republic of Nigeria
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June 7, 2021
The Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN

Stop the Destruction of our Common wealth, Fashola pleads at Town Hall Meeting

The Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN has appealed to those vandalizing government properties in the country to desist from doing so.

The Minister made the appeal during his presentation at the Townhall Meeting on Protecting Public Infrastructure organized by the Federal Ministry of Information, which took place today 7th June 2021 at NAF Conference Centre Abuja.

Fashola, who noted all that no nation grows beyond the capacity of its infrastructure, lamented the level of damage and vandalization of public properties in the nation.

The Minister said, "our ability to grow, to develop and to prosper, to get education and essentially to live a good life is tied to quality and quantity of Infrastructure that we have, explaining that properties damaged under the purview of his Ministry included bridges across the nation such as Otedola and Kara bridges in Lagos, Tamburawa Bridge in Kano among others which would respectively cost 203M, 605M and 1.8 Billion naira to repair.

Noting that these money could have been expended on other sectors such as health, education etc. Fashola disclosed that another form in which the bridge was abused included the conversion of spaces under the bridge to shops and the use of parking spaces for businesses, adding that the Ministry had started the process of recovery of all these spaces with the aim of ensuring that they are utilized for their legitimate purposes.

The Minister also condemned the vandalism of signages on the Federal Highways across the country. He explained that "Signages have begun to reappear on the nation’s highways but these signages have become targets of some people and turned to billboards for campaign." He added that some of them were out rightly carted away.

Fashola further condemned the abuse of the right of way by some people who raise structure on them, explaining that 45.72 metre from the centre line of both sides of the road lies within the right of way.
The Minister also decried the building of bumps on Federal Highways which he noted are dangerous to unsuspecting road users, adding that the public buildings are also not left out by vandals.

The Minister noted that though there are existing laws to punish these criminal acts but they were no longer realistic in view of the economic changes that have taken place since the time they were enacted and now and therefore called for quick amendment of the laws so that offenders could be adequately punished.

Fashola also called upon the citizens to take responsibility over government properties and stand up against vandalism and willful destruction of the common wealth of the country.

In his welcome Address, the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Muhammed said the aim of the Townhall meeting was to bridge the gap between the Government and the people.

The Minister said infrastructure deficit was one of the challenges facing the country and the current administration had invested hugely on it despite the lean resources available to it.

"Despite a drastic drop in revenues and competing priorities especially that of tackling insecurity, the Federal Government had invested heavily in providing new infrastructure in addition to reconstruction and rehabilitating of existing ones."

However, he lamented that in recent times such laudable efforts of the government were being thwarted by some unpatriotic citizens through wanton destruction of critical infrastructure thereby depriving the greater citizenry for whose benefits these projects and services are provided.

The Ministers of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Muhammed Bello also took turn to reveal the negative impact and cost of vandalism and destruction of public properties under the purview of their respective Ministry.

As a way of overcoming the problem, stakeholders present at the occasion suggested that stiffer laws against  such crimes should be passed by the National Assembly,  Traditional Rulers should be involved in the security of public properties,  State governments should be made to partake in securing federal government projects within their domain, security agents should be encouraged to be more vigilant and massive sensitization of the general public should be carried out to engage the citizens in the ownership and protection of these properties.

Also present at the occasion were the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Mr. Ali Patani, the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Engineer Abubakar D .Aliyu and Heads of Federal Agencies.

 

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