By Kingsley Adegboye
The Lagos State Government at the weekend decried the removal of manhole covers on major highways in the metropolis by some unidentified people, warning that it would not hesitate to treat culprits as economic saboteurs.
The Government which described the culprits as unpatriotic, said it has commenced the replacement of such covers in some major roads in the city in order to stop the loss of innocent lives and avert injuries as a result of accidents the removal of the covers could cause.
It therefore appealed to residents to report such acts to appropriate authorities, adding that it has commenced replacement of the removed covers on major roads.
According to the Government, “The removal of the manhole covers has led to major accidents on Lagos roads. It has also led to the hospitalization of innocent Lagosians who fell into these vandalized manholes”.
The Government said while it is formulating devices and means to secure the covers and prevent further removal, the replacement of identified vandalized manholes have commenced with the replacement of eight on Ikorodu Road, 43 along Eko Bridge, eight along Simpson Junction, Lagos Island, 17 roads in Lagos Island Business District and some areas along Bourdillon and Gerald Roads in Ikoyi.
Other major roads that have benefitted from replacements include Funso Williams Avenue, Surulere, Eric Moore Road, Surulere, network of roads in Apapa Central Business District and Murtala Mohammed Way, Yaba, among many others.
Pointing out that public fund has had to be invested to replace the manhole covers, the Government said it has alerted all relevant law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for the perpetrators of the act, adding that the full weight of the law would be brought on those caught in the act. The government therefore implored all residents to personally take interest in the protection of public infrastructure provided with tax paid by them for their benefit..
“Henceforth, the general public is hereby notified that the State Government has alerted all relevant law enforcement agencies to be on look out for the perpetrators of this unpatriotic act towards applying the full weight of the law”, the Government warned, explaining that the covered drains are provided with openings for cleaning and other routine maintenance, while the openings are also provided with cast iron covers and gratings to allow surface water access into the drains.
The Government further stated, “In other to stem this unpatriotic act the Lagos State Government will formulate devices and means of securing the covers from being stolen or vandalized again without losing their primary functions adding that Government has undertaken the enumeration of all affected roads in the State with the aim of replacing the stolen covers of identified manholes in the State.
“Government, at this stage, is appealing to all law abiding citizens to be on the lookout towards protecting these public infrastructure and exposing those selfish and anti_social elements causing the damage. The infrastructure belongs to all of us, thus it is a collective responsibility to protect them” the Government said.