Reporter: CHRISTIAN NWANGENE
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Enugu State Command, has paraded four suspects for allegedly vandalizing rail tracks at Ezza Nkwubor-Nike in Enugu East Local Government Area.
The Commandant of the Corps, Mr. Afrika Valentine Ezenyimulu, told journalists in Enugu that the suspects identified as Monday Igwe (male 25 yrs), Nzebechukwu Ogbodo (27 yrs), Chinedu Amadi (24 yrs), and Chibuike Agu (21 yrs), were intercepted by the Nigerian Army.
They were allegedly conveying over one hundred slippers, ninety-three rail tracks, nuts and bolts in L300 Mitsubishi bus to their prospective buyers before they were arrested and eventually brought to NSCDC.
“The prime suspect Monday Igwe, conspired with three others and were vandalising rail tracks and slippers at his own community, Ezza Nkwubor-Nike in Enugu East Local Government Area.
“Monday Igwe whose house is located near the rail lines however is supplying the vandalized products to one Friday Agu, who is now at large.
“On getting to the dumb sight belonging to Friday Agu, which is located behind 82 Division, Nigeria Army about four hundred and forty-seven slippers were recovered which brought the total number of recovered items to five hundred and fifty seven (557) slippers, ninety three (93) rail tracks totaling six hundred and fifty (650) items.
“Also, a Mitsubishi L300 bus with Reg. No: ENU599ZU with which they were conveying the vandalized items as well as a motorcycle without registration number were recovered from the suspects,” the NSCDC Commandant enumerated.
Mr. Ezenyimulu stated that the arrest was made possible through intensified surveillance on government critical national infrastructure and assets.
He added that vandalism of rail line components amounted to economic sabotage.
“This vandalism has crippled the movement of trains on these tracks, because it is a major means of transportation over here where you have farmers and where they grow rice and others. Through this they can be transported, but these individuals have sworn to truncate that and then frustrate the citizens,” the NSCDC boss lamented.
The NSCDC Commandant commended the synergy that existed among security agencies in the state, which he noted made the arrest possible.
He particularly commended officers and men of the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu for their efforts and contributions towards the arrest.
Mr. Ezenyimulu, called on the leadership of communities at various levels in the South East to assist the command check the activities of vandals in their areas.
“I wonder how this magnitude of vandalism will be taking place in a Community without the leadership of the community knowing or doing something about it.
“It is unfortunate that the few bad ones among us are determined to frustrate government efforts at improving the social infrastructure that will make life meaningful for the people,” the NSCDC Commandant stated.
The District Public Relations Officer Eastern District, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr. Onyedikachi Onovo, said the activities of vandals had crippled activities of rail transportation in the zone, and called on relevant stakeholders in the area to help stop the trend.
“We’re pleading on the South East States Governors, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Presidents General, Traditional Rulers, Local Government Chairmen. These rails are domicile in communities headed by people, please help us protect the tracks.
“See, these are rail tracks, about five hundred pieces of slippers, these are national assets, yes! trains are not running here, but how can trains run when the whole tracks are being vandalized by people who are supposed to safeguard the tracks?
“The tracks are within our environment, we are pleading on everybody to have sympathy on this system and help the trains to run.
“If you get to Lagos, Ibadan, Kaduna and Abuja and see how the trains are running you will love it!
“Government is making efforts to come down here and when they come here, if you’re a government and see this type of destruction, you can naturally be discouraged,” Mr. Onovo stated.
Two of the suspects, Monday Igwe, and Chinedu Amadi, confessed to their participation in loading the trucks with the vandalized rail line components but denied vandalizing the rail line.
While assuring that his Command had set up a man hurt to apprehend the fleeing suspect, Friday Agu, the NSCDC Commandant, explained that the suspects in their custody would be prosecuted after investigation.