The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has lamented the level of destruction of infrastructure caused by Boko Haram terrorists in Borno State and other parts of Nigeria.
Mohammed described the destruction as worse than he had imagined.
He disclosed this at a town hall meeting in Maiduguri on Thursday, according to a copy of his speech obtained by the Punch.
The minister said, “I must confess that, based on the two town hall meetings (held earlier), the situation regarding the wanton destruction of public infrastructure is worse than we had imagined.
“For example, we were told that it would cost the Federal Government N3.8 billion to repair just four bridges that were damaged by vandals and petrol-laden tankers. That’s a huge amount that could have been used to build new infrastructure.
“It is common knowledge that massive infrastructure deficit is among the challenges we face in Nigeria. This is why the Muhammadu Buhari administration has deliberately adopted an inclusive infrastructure provisioning framework that spreads to all sections of the country.
“We could not have chosen a better venue than Maiduguri, which has been cut off from public power supply since January 2021 due to the destruction of power infrastructure by terrorists.
“The terrorists who are destroying power and telecommunication facilities in Borno have chosen to weaponize these attacks in order to inflict the maximum hardship on the people and also slow down the advances of our gallant troops in decimating them. They will fail in both instances.”
He explained that despite a sharp decline in revenues and competing priorities, especially that of combating security crises, the Nigerian government has invested heavily in providing new infrastructure, as well as reconstructing and renovating existing ones.
“In recent times however, such laudable efforts of the government are being thwarted by some unpatriotic citizens through wanton destruction of critical infrastructure, thereby depriving the greater citizenry – for whose benefits these projects and services are provided – from enjoying them.
"Railway tracks are being subjected to wanton vandalism, bridge railings are being removed, manhole covers are being pilfered, and so are critical aviation, power and telecommunications infrastructure.
“The consequences of such unpatriotic action and behaviour, aside from endangering the lives of fellow innocent citizens, include the toll it takes on the government’s limited revenue to replace, rehabilitate or totally reconstruct such destroyed infrastructure,” he added.