The federal and state government attention has been called to the menace of vandalism by the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) as they condemned the act as a threat to developmental progress. Therefore they urged the government to step up security and bring those involved in vandalizing public assets to justice. APWEN recommended that the government invest in cutting-edge technologies that can detect and prevent vandalism, as well as launch public education campaigns stressing the importance of the infrastructure to the welfare of the people and the repercussions of vandalism.
President of the association, Dr. Elizabeth Eterigho, discussed the issue at a sensitization session for stakeholders against destruction of public assets and essential infrastructure organized by NOA in Abuja. The APWEN president spoke on the topic “Vandalized Assets and Critical Infrastructure, its Economic Dangers and the Way Out: Engineering Perspective,” in which she urged Nigerians to prioritize the safety and well-being of infrastructure. She noted that vandalism of assets poses a serious threat to public safety, economic stability, and national security.
Nigeria’s already awful infrastructure deficit could worsen.
In addition to the material and internal costs associated with vandalism, there is also the risk to public safety, as seen in the case of pipeline explosion victims. The financial burden of such accidents is felt indirectly through the compensation and litigation costs that are incurred. Social discontent, job loss, poverty, and an uptick in crime are all possible outcomes of vandalism against assets and infrastructure. As a result, the country’s already awful infrastructure deficit could worsen, creating a vicious cycle of low economic output in Nigeria.
Dr. Eterigho emphasized the importance of safeguarding vital assets like pipelines, electricity grids, telephone networks, and public infrastructure. She highlighted education, awareness, enhanced safety measures, cyber security, community participation, coordination with relevant stakeholders, and reporting and reaction procedures as some significant parts of a comprehensive strategy to reduce vandalism of vital infrastructure. Moreover, economic activity may be slowed or even halted if vital infrastructure like roads, bridges, and transportation networks are damaged beyond repair, she added.
Infrastructure vandalism is a serious matter that plagues the country.
Despite having abundant natural and human resources, Dr. Eterigho remarked that vandalism of assets and infrastructure is a serious matter that plagues the country. She maintains that citizens, government entities, and law enforcement officials must work together to solve the problem and protect the country’s economic progress. The President of APWEN went on to describe several examples of vandalism, including the destruction of pipelines by criminals who illegally extract oil, harming both the environment and people’s safety.
Even the telecommunication area is affected with the recent destruction of communication towers which resulted in a breakdown in network connectivity. Dr. Eterigho said we have also seen public buildings, roads, and bridges vandalized resulting in unimaginable misery for the general community. Water treatment plants, government buildings, and other key facilities are other examples of vandalized assets and crucial infrastructure. The effects of vandalism are not limited to monetary losses; they can also threaten public safety and even national security.
Safeguarding infrastructures is a national pressing matter.
On his part, Director General of NOA, Dr. Garba Abari, also issued a warning to Nigerians about the dangers of damaging essential public infrastructure and assets. Mrs. Theresa Maduekwe, Director of Public Enlightenment and Mass Mobilization, spoke on behalf of the DG, who said that numerous governments have spent vast funds on improving and maintaining public utilities like roads, bridges, hydroelectric power plants, railroads, and gas and oil pipelines over the years. Thus, he argued, safeguarding these infrastructures is a matter of pressing national significance. Most of the infrastructure, he said, passes through communities and has helped raise standards of living across the areas.