March 26, 2024

Stealing, destroying public assets during protest unwise, self-defeating – Aregbesola


Shina Abubakar, Osogbo

The immediate-past Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has described as unwise wanton destruction and stealing of public assets during protest.

The former Osun State Governor while disclosing that such action is self defeating, stressed the need for Nigerians to safeguard and protect public assets, as it is vital to the smooth administration of the society.

Aregbesola, who spoke at the public presentation of a book titled, ‘Essentials of Public Asset Management’ written by Niyi Olanipekun, in Osogbo, on Tuesday, said protecting public assets is a collective responsibility that must be embraced by all for a saner and progressive society.

According to Ogbeni Aregbesola, “Public assets can be traced to the mythical social contract and the origin of government when individuals gave up the power of governing themselves and surrendered it to the sovereign who will govern on their behalf. The common public utilities like roads and water bodies became facilities used by members of the public, superintended and managed by the government on behalf of all members of the state.

“In many cases, these assets are a monument and a testament of the people’s creativity and sense of value. In some countries, private assets are acquired by the government and then designated as state monument. In the past, the most beautiful and the grandest building in any community used to be the king’s palace. This is why an invading and conquering power would first desecrate and then destroy the king’s palace to assert their conquest.

“It must be noted that though these assets are named after the government, they are indeed owned by the people whom the government is established to serve. It is therefore self-defeating for the people to steal, vandalise or destroy public asset during riots and in a fit of public rage. It is the greatest act of self-harm. It is the most unwise thing to do.

“These assets will be replaced anyway at public expense and the scarce resources that should have been devoted to other things will now be deployed for their replacement or restoration. Some may not even be easy to be replaced immediately and the public would now be denied of their use after the rage had subsided. It is therefore the responsibility of every citizen to protect public assets from theft, vandalism and destruction.”

He also urged public officials to uphold the sanctity of the care for public assets, as it is key to building a virile nation.

The former Minister adds, “I must commend the author who was part of our administration and served in the management of public assets. His experience, no doubt, must have inspired this book. It is a collection for history and for the understanding of the craft of asset management.