June 10, 2024

Vandalism of Second Niger Bridge, others

Vandalism of Second Niger Bridge, others

Nigeria’s failure status is manifest in every direction. State failure simply means the inability of a country to maintain law and order, develop properly, protect its people and defend its territorial integrity.

The strength of the armed forces, police, security and paramilitary organisations is not in their ability to harass and intimidate innocent and law-abiding citizens while reacting to crimes. It is their ability to deploy properly and assiduously, ensuring the “long hand of the law” eventually catches up with lawbreakers. That is what creates disincentive to crime.

In Nigeria today, criminals no longer have enough fear of the law enforcement agencies. In the North, terrorists and bandits have seized swathes of territory and asserted their dominance in utter contempt of our security organisations which have failed to secure the country since the rise of jihadist terrorism in 2009.

Criminals have been vandalising our public utilities such as power lines and pipelines, dismantling the steel parts used to hold our bridges together, uncoupling the steel components on our railway tracks and carting them away for sale.

The latest focus of these cartel of criminals is the Second Niger Bridge, which was opened barely a year ago for public use. It cost N210 billion. The vandals came in the night and systematically removed the steel parts, thus weakening the new bridge and endangering the lives of the users.

The Abuja-Kaduna railway line, built with $4.7 million fund borrowed from China, suffered the same fate. The line was attacked by terrorists in March 2022, with dozens killed and scores more kidnapped. A few days ago, a Kaduna-bound train also got derailed on the line because some parts had been vandalised.

There is a theory of criminology that says when a crime goes on for longer than normal, the security agencies must be involved. In May 2021, a senior Nasarawa State Government official, Yusuf Musa, was caught with some military and police officials in connection with the spate of vandalism of railway infrastructure in that axis.

Also, recently, the Zamfara State Commissioner of Police, Muhammad Dalijan, disclosed that a member of the House of Assembly and a former Local Government Chairman were arrested for colluding with bandits who terrorise the state.

The involvement of security and government officials in the acts of sabotage and crimes that weaken the nation must be given the attention it deserves. These are the people charged with securing the people, the state and its infrastructure, who have turned around to collude with criminals or condone criminality for personal gain.

They know those who are wreaking havoc against the state such as the vandals and the buyers. We cannot allow them to continue. The Federal and State governments must act decisively to arrest this ugly situation.

Otherwise, they too will be accomplices.