THE Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) authorities are yet to replace most stolen manhole covers on the roads in the FCT, weeks after the House of Representatives directed them to cover all manholes in the city.
The ICIR had reported on the menace of open manholes in Abuja and pointed out how the city is littered with uncovered manholes causing threats to residents.
The House of Representatives, after The ICIR report, directed FCTA to replace all stolen manhole covers on the roads.
The motion for the replacement of stolen manholes was moved under matters of urgent national importance by Musa Mohammed Pali (APC, Bauchi).
Pali expressed concerns that manhole covers in the FCT were being stolen by unpatriotic individuals, leaving the manholes open and posing a grave danger to unsuspecting motorists and pedestrians.
He also expressed concerns that many people had sustained permanent injuries due to falling into open manholes while many vehicle tyres had been damaged as a result of running over the manholes.
The House agreed that uncovered manholes posed a grave danger to persons and property within the city.
The House, therefore, directed that the FCTA should immediately cover all open manholes to prevent further endangerment to persons and properties.
The House also mandated the Committee on the FCT to ensure compliance and report back within six weeks for further legislative action.
It also urged the Nigeria Police Force to provide surveillance security at all times against theft of manhole covers.
However, a tour of the city showed that there are still uncovered manholes all over the FCT despite The ICIR’s report and the House of Representatives’ directive.
Jabi in the FCT boasts of many open manholes, which have become a worry to residents and visitors in the area.
The Uncovered manholes on the bridge at Central Area opposite Coscharis Motors are still there, while the ones on Shehu Shagari way, Maitama roundabout and Ibrahim Babangida way, all in Maitama, are still wide open.
In Wuse, residents still placed old tyres and logs of wood on the open holes to alert pedestrians of manholes and to forestall accidents.
In 2017, Femi Falana sued the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) after he had an accident caused by an uncovered manhole in Mataima, a district in Abuja.
Falana said he had the accident when he walked into a manhole with no inscription to caution road users, especially pedestrians, to avoid it.
He argued that the FCDA owed all road users, including him, a duty of care by ensuring that the roads within the Federal Capital Territory were safe for all.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, like most people who spoke to The ICIR, said he had to nurse the resultant injury for a long period while also spending money for care.
The FCTA blamed scavengers and vandals for the constant stealing and vandalisation of the manhole covers in the FCT.
The Director of Infrastructure and Facilities in the FCTA, Omoniyi Olaloye, had told The ICIR that over 600 manholes were without covers in Abuja.
Efforts to get the response of the FCTA on why they have not carried out the directive of the lawmakers were unsuccessful as David Udo, the Chief Press Secretary to the Director of Infrastructure and Facilities in the FCTA, said he was not authorised to speak on the matter.