Abuja, – The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has arrested 13 suspected railway vandals with large quantity of long rails and sleepers worth N800 million.
The suspects were paraded alongside five trucks conveying the suspected vandalised rails and sleepers at the NSCDC Headquarters, Abuja on Tuesday.
The NSCDC Director of Public Relations, Babatunde Afolabi, during the parade, said that the suspects were arrested by the Commandant General’s Special Intelligence Squad (CGs SIS).
Afolabi said that the arrests took place around Manchock area of Kaura LGA, Zonkwa area in Zango Kataf LGA, and Kaffanchan area in Jama’a LGA of Kaduna State.
“The 13 suspects and 5 trucks impounded have been taken into custody for profiling and further investigation and prosecution.
“The 13 suspects are still being interrogated and cross-examined after which other accomplices will be arrested and charged to court,” he said.
He said that upon arrest, the CGs SIS were offered a huge sum but they refused to accept the bribe.
“When they were apprehended the commander of the squad was offered the sum of N30 million which was rejected,” he said.
NSCDC Commandant General (CG), Ahmed Audi, decried the continuous activities of vandalism across the country by economic saboteurs and their accomplices.
He frowned at the yet-to-be-identified iron and steel companies who always process and melt these vandalized rail track iron and sleepers.
“Efforts are in top gear to smash and unmask these syndicates and make them face the wrath of the law, no matter how highly or lowly placed,” he said.
He said that while interviewing one of the truck drivers, whose name was withheld, the driver said that he was offered N1.2 million upon delivery of the stolen items to Ilorin.
The suspect said that he was, however, given N200,000 advance payment at which he gave N100,000 to the agent who contacted him for the job.
The Federal Railway Corporation, North Central District Manager, Mr Austin Ashibekong, said that the arrests were made within his jurisdiction.
“I want to confirm to you that these are vandalised long railways that had been cut into pieces and everywhere in the North-Central district is experiencing a surge in vandalisation of track materials.
“They vandalise the long rails, the sleepers, android clips and other railway components which has been a major hurt in our management,” he said.
According to Ashibekong, these materials run to hundreds of millions, bearing in mind that no railway material can be sourced locally.
“Even the nuts can not be sourced locally and all these costs the Federal Government a great deal and somebody will come overnight to vandalise them for selfish and personal interest,” he said.
He further commended the efforts of the NSCDC in curbing such crimes as he called for continuous partnership.
“ We welcome any other security agency that will join in this fight so that we try as much as possible to curb the vandalisation that has surged in recent years.
“This team set up by the CG is a laudable achievement and we are out here to support them, the apex management of the corporation is happy to see these arrests being carried made.
“We should come out to support these exercises, the efforts and encourage the management of the corps to further empower personnel,” he said.(NAN)