The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has arrested 13 suspected railway vandals with large quantities of long rails and sleepers worth N800 million Naira.
The suspects were paraded alongside five trucks conveying the large quantities of vandalised rails and sleepers at the NSCDC Headquarters, Abuja on Tuesday.
The NSCDC National Public Relations Officer, Babawale 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 Local Government Area, Zonkwa area in Zango Kataf Local Government Area, and Kaffanchan area in Jama’a local government area of Kaduna State.
He said: “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 disclosed that upon arrest, the CGs SIS were offered a huge sum but they refused to accept the proposed bribe.
“When they were apprehended, the Commander of the squad was offered the sum of N30million which was rejected.”
According to the PRO, the NSCDC Commandant General (CG), Ahmed Audi has decried the continous activities of vandalism across the country by economic saboteurs and their accomplices.
He noted that the CG frowned at the yet to be identified iron and steel companies that always process and melt these vandalised 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 interrogating one of the truck drivers, name withheld, he said that he was offered N1.2million upon delivery of the stolen items to Ilorin.
The suspect said that he was however given N200,000 advance payment, at which point he gave N100,000 to the agent who contacted him for the job.
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 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.
“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 continous 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 the recent years.”