From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Benue State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC, on Tuesday paraded 17 suspected criminals who were caught vandalizing railway and other nationals assets in the state.
The suspects, according to the NSCDC State Commandant, Sule Okeji, were arrested in four locations across the state for criminal conspiracy, vandalism, willful destruction of critical National Assets and being in possession of vandalized items.
Okeji listed the locations of arrest of the suspects to include Ugba in Logo LGA, Udei in Guma LGA, Gboko and Makurdi LGAs.
He restated NSCDC’s determination to carry out it’s core mandate stressing that it would leave no stone unturned to achieve that.
Okeji, while warning all vandals to steer clear of Benue as acts of vandalism would not be tolerated, urged youths to engage themselves in legitimate and productive ventures instead of engaging in crimes.
He lamented that most of those who are usually caught in the act of vandalism were those who had been engaged as labourers by the actual vandals, opining that these labourers have the habit of not giving information about their sponsors.
“We are aware that these people are being encouraged to do this but the sad thing is that when they are caught, they are not willing to divulge information about their sponsors.
“However, we are making efforts to locate the end users of these vandalized items with a view to bringing them to book too,” the NSCDC boss said.
Some of the items recovered from the suspected vandals included a lorry containing about 600 railway slippers, bolts and nuts, 300 railway steel lines and 600 lead zinc stones.
One of the suspects, Terwase Kyungun who was arrested in Gboko said he was a driver and was engaged by somebody to go and pick the rail slippers as scrap.
“But when I got there, I saw that they were not scrap. While we were loading, soldiers came and the two owners who were with us ran away, leaving us to our fate. I don’t know them. They only came and engaged me to help them move the materials,” he said.
Another suspect, Adamu Lawal who was caught alongside six others with a truck load of lead stones around Ugba in Logo LGA said they were taking it to Port Harcourt.
Explaining what usually becomes of the stolen items, Adamu who claimed that it was his first time said, “when they take it to Port Harcourt, they will pack them into containers and ship them abroad.
“Many vehicles have been conveying the lead but this is my first time,” he claimed.