8th August, 2011
The Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA) has observed that social miscreants have formed the habit of removing manhole covers in Lagos metropolis, thus exposing underground telecom cables to risk of theft and damage.
LASIMRA strongly frowns at such acts, and has warned those involved to desist from it or face the wrath of the law. General Manager of LASIMRA, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, who gave this warning in Lagos, lamented the destructive act, which, he said, endangers the infrastructure of the state and constitutes a threat to lives and properties in Lagos.
He noted that fibre optic and copper cables owned by Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), NITEL and other telecom operators had long been laid underground across the country, with connecting points for easy access.
The access points, which are located by the roadsides, are covered with metal objects, known as manhole covers, through which operators gain access to their underground cables, for purposes of maintenance and routine checks.
Igbokwe regretted that miscreants now remove the manhole covers illegally and in most cases, steal the cables or create avenues for others to steal them and sabotage efforts of telecom operators that own the cables.
LASIMRA General Manager said the theft of underground cables was on the increase as a result of exposure of the cables by those who illegally remove and steal manhole covers. The action, according to him, â€œcauses distortions in the flow of communication data, which are routed through the cables, and subsequently affect quality of service in every affected area.â€
Apart from affecting quality of service, the removal of manhole covers is also creating undue hardship for motorists and pedestrians alike who make use of the roads. Igbokwe disclosed that government is putting in place adequate security measures to track down those who steal the manhole covers, warning that culprits will face the full wrath of the law if caught.
He warned buyers and end users of stolen manhole covers to desist from the act as the security agencies will track down both the perpetrators and their patrons who buy the covers.
He, therefore, advised the general public to be on the lookout for the thieves and miscreants who steal manhole covers in their areas and promptly report to Lagos State Ministry of Works, LASIMRA or the Public Works Corporation for immediate action.