by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
The Nigeria Security in a joint operation with Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has arrested 13 suspected railway vandals with large quantities of long rails and sleepers worth N800 naira.
The suspects were paraded alongside five trucks conveying the large quantities of vandalized rails and sleepers at the NSCDC Headquarters, Abuja on Tuesday.
The NSCDC National Public Relations Officer (PRO), Babawale Afolabi, disclosed this while parading the suspects, noting that, the suspects were arrested by the Commandant-General’s Special Intelligence Squad (CGs SIS).
He said that the arrests took place around Manchock area of Kaura LGA, Zonkwa area in Zangon Kataf LGA, and Kafanchan area in Jama’a LGA of Kaduna State.
According to him, the 13 suspects and 5 trucks impounded have been taken into custody for profiling and further investigation and prosecution, while the 13 suspects are still being interrogated and cross-examined, after which other accomplices will be arrested and charged to court.
He disclosing that, upon arrest, the CGs SIS was offered a huge sum but they refused to accept the proposed bribe. “When they were apprehended, the Commander of the squad was offered the sum of N30 million, which was rejected,” he said.
According to the PRO, the NSCDC Commandant-General (CG), Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Audi, has decried the continuous activities of vandalism across the country by economic saboteurs and their accomplices.
He frowned at the yet to be identified iron and steel companies, who always process and melt these vandalized rail track irons and sleepers.
He, however, assured that, “Efforts are on top gear to smash and unmask these syndicates and make them to face the wrath of the law, no matter how highly or lowly placed.”
He said that, while interviewing one of the truck drivers (name withheld) the driver said he was offered N1.2million upon delivery of the stolen items to Ilorin, adding that, he was however given N200,000 advance payment which he gave N100,000 to the agent who contacted him for the job.
Federal Railway Corporation, North Central District Manager, Mr Austin Ashibekong, said that the arrests were made within his jurisdiction.
“I want to confirm to you that these are vandalized long railways that had been cut into pieces and everywhere in the North-Central District is experiencing surge in vandalisation of track materials.
“They vandalize the long rails, the sleepers, android clips and other railway components which has been a major hurt in our management. These materials run to hundreds of millions, bearing in mind that no railway material can be sourced locally.
“Even the nuts cannot be sourced locally, and all these cost the Federal Government a great deal; and somebody will come overnight to vandalize them for selfish and personal interest,” he said.
He further commended the efforts of the NSCDC in curbing such crimes even as he called for continuous partnership, saying, “We welcome any other security agency that will join in this fight so that we try as much as possible to curb the vandalisation that has surged in the recent years.
“This team, set up by the CG, is a laudable achievement and we are out here to support them. The Apex management of the Corporation is happy to see these arrests being carried out. We should come out to support this exercise and encourage the management of the corps to further empower personnel,” he said.