© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
PHOTOS: Renovation begins on Abuja bridges five months after ICIR report
THE Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has started renovating bridges in Abuja whose railings and steel barriers got damaged as a result of theft, The ICIR has observed.
This development is coming a little over five months after The ICIR reported how the damaging and stealing of the bridge components located close to water bodies and high grounds has rendered the bridges unsafe for Abuja residents, especially schoolkids.
With three workers on site, repairs are ongoing at a section of the Olusegun Obasanjo Way, close to the famous GSM Village at Wuse Zone One.
They have painted the supporting steel dowels, replaced some of the cut steel barriers and are working to weld others in place, with the help of a generator vibrating in the background.
The May report featured “armless bridges” in different parts of Wuse and established that those who engaged in vandalising the public properties often operated at night.
According to witnesses, in 2017, the government embarked on partial replacement of the stolen railings and barriers. While the rails damaged along the Michael Okpara Street were repaired, the ones on Obasanjo Way were left unattended to, observed Micheal Ojobo.
A similar pattern was seen in respect of a similar bridge close to Wuse Market. While one side of the bridge was repaired, the second was abandoned.
Anjuguri Manzah, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) for the FCT Command, had said some of the vandals had been arrested and charged to court. He also said, after cutting, the metal scraps were sold at giveaway prices or melted and reused for other purposes.
The ICIR was informed by the Head of Public Relations, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), that the agency in charge of maintaining and repairing bridges and manholes is the Facilities Maintenance and Management Department.
The Department’s Public Relations Officer had, however, declined to comment, after consulting with the Director, and said they do not grant interviews “like that”.
The menace, it was noted, has been worsened by the ineffectiveness of streetlights and closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the capital territory.
The ICIR reported in 2017 that CCTV cameras planted on major roads in Abuja had never worked since their installation and failed to detect criminal activities — despite government spending the sum of N76 billion on the project.