The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has apprehended 13 individuals suspected of involvement in railway vandalism, seizing a substantial haul of long rails and sleepers estimated at a value of N800 million.
The suspects were apprehended in various locations: the Manchock area of Kaura Local Government Area (LGA), the Zonkwa area in Zango Kataf LGA, and the Kaffanchan area in Jama’a LGA, all situated within Kaduna State.
This information was disclosed in a statement released on Tuesday by the NSCDC’s spokesperson, Babawale Afolabi. Notably, the suspects were apprehended by the Commandant General’s Special Intelligence Squad (CGs SIS).
The captured individuals, along with five trucks transporting the substantial quantities of vandalized rails and sleepers, were publicly displayed at the NSCDC Headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday.
“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,” the statement quoted Afolabi as saying.
“When they were apprehended, the Commander of the squad was offered the sum of N30 million which was rejected,” he added.
While quoting the NSCDC Commandant General (CG), Ahmed Audi, he said the agency’s boss is decrying the activities of vandals across the country.
This is as he frowned at the yet-to-identified iron and steel companies who always process and melt these vandalised rail materials and sleepers.
But he said: “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”.
According to the statement, one of the suspects, a truck driver, said he was offered N1.2m to deliver the stolen items to Ilorin, Kwara State.
The suspect said that he was however given N200,000 advance payment from which he gave N100,000 to the agent who contacted him for the job.
“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,” Federal Railway Corporation, North Central District Manager, Austin Ashibekong, said.
“They vandalize 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,” Ashibekong was further quoted as saying.