THE March 28, 2022 Abuja-Kaduna train attack by bandit-terrorists served the notice that terrorists have joined the horde of economic saboteurs emasculating the comatose railway system which we are trying to revive.
The Railway Police Command on April 27, 2022, hauled in 14 suspects, including Sirajo Suleiman, a Sergeant of the Nigerian Army Central Ammunition Department, Kaduna. They were caught with three truckloads of railway parts. The syndicate specialises in dismantling and selling our railway infrastructure around the Kafanchan/Kaduna axis.
Also, in May 2021, the police nabbed an 18-man gang of railway vandals in Nasarawa State. They included the Special Adviser to Governor Abdullahi Sule on Infrastructure, Yusuf Abubakar Musa, two police officers and an operative of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC.
This means that some of the officials charged with securing our national infrastructure and prosecuting criminals have now turned into criminals.
This ugly trend of criminal collusion by state officials is rampant in the oil and gas sector. Military, security and police officers have been discovered to guard oil thieves and bunkerers. Some have even been caught as owners of some of the illegal refineries that dot the oil producing communities in the Niger Delta.
Vandalism of our national assets has also been reported in the power sector. High tension cables and other furnishings have for long been hacked and sold. Vandals and saboteurs were responsible for the latest spate of blackouts.
For this relentless spate of vandalism to thrive, there must be a thriving market for it. Syndicates which buy these stolen parts have existed virtually unchecked.
Why should this be so? These vandalised parts are not tiny or invisible objects. They are huge enough to be easily intercepted at the myriads of police and military checkpoints on our highways.
A proactive and efficient security system should be able to identify and apprehend the vandals and their leg men who dismantle these parts. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Our failed security architecture is not limited only to the area of inability to crush the many terrorist challenges threatening the nation. Our security system is unable to protect the nation’s assets from organised criminals.
We are unable to expand our infrastructure to meet the needs of over 200 million people. At the same time, we are also losing the little we have to economic saboteurs, many of whom are government officials.
Somehow, we have managed to recruit crooks into our military and security forces who leverage on their uniforms to rob the nation. The various armed forces, police and security agencies should do more internal policing and identify bad eggs among them.
More police and security functions should be decentralised to the states and local communities to help guard our national assets.