By Abiemwense Moru
Abuja – The House of Representatives on Tuesday, mandated the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), to conduct an immediate condition assessments of all manholes within the territory.
This followed a motion under matters of urgent national importance by Rep. Ibrahim Isiaka (APC-Ogun) at plenary.
Moving the motion, Isiaka expressed concern over open manholes causing incessant slips, trips and falls of people from the surface due to thieves who had resorted to stealing manhole covers to sell as scrap metal.
He said: “Manhole closings are expected to be protected by a grating manhole cover, a flat plug designed to prevent accidental or unauthorised access to the manhole.
“It is traditionally made of metal, precast concrete, glass, reinforced plastic or other composite material in streets for sidewalks across the Federal Capital Territory and major streets and households.
“Safety, as our number one concern, has been eroded by uncovered manholes and drains of virtual death traps in the streets of Abuja and they pose greater peril when submerged under floodwaters.
“Children are not only the most at risk, but vulnerable because sometimes, before help could come, it may be too late and the kids are swept away under tunnels.
“The authorities are aware of the potential death traps across Abuja but have been unable to fix the problem leading to rampant tragedies.
“Perhaps, because no ally of the government has ever fallen victim to these manholes which are death traps waiting for innocent people to devour.
“If not, they would have been covered with the speed of light,” he said
Isiaka further expressed worry that there were recordable and non-recordable incidents associated with uncovered manholes hazard with many victims and families going back with horrific tales.
On Oct. 27, 2017, at Shehu Shagari Way, Maitama District, Abuja, a certain Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) fell into an uncovered manhole, which had no inscription around it to caution road users, especially pedestrians to avoid same.
The motion was unanimously adopted when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.
The house, therefore, mandated FCDA to provide barricades, caution tapes and other means of safety nets in and around all the exposed manholes and to desilt all underground blocked drains.
It also urged the FCDA to reinstate stolen manholes covers within the city.
The House, however, mandated its Committees on FCT, FCDA and Legislative Compliance to monitor and report back within six weeks for further legislative inputs. (NAN)