From Nwogha Ndubuisi, Abakaliki
Members of Ebonyi Scrap Dealers Association have arrested two culprits involved in the vandalisation of government property in the State.
The Chairman of the Association, Chief Eric Igwe speaking with Journalists on yesterday disclosed his commitment to fulfilling his inaugural promise to apprehend vandals, whose activities have tarnished the image of the association.
He revealed that two persons , Ebuka Nwehihe and Emmanuel Okemini both indegenes of Ebonyi were arrested trying to sell government cables to a scrap dealer at Nwenzenyi.
According to the chairman: “It came to our notice that two individuals had vandalized government cables from transformers and high-tension wires.
” When they came to sell it, we had to hold them and, after interrogation, discovered that the stolen wires were obtained from Okaria Nkaliki in Izzi LGA.
“It was evident that these were not individual property, and they admitted to stealing them.”he stated
Expressing concern over cable vandalism, Nwigwe emphasized, “These cables are provided by the government for our own good and benefits. It serves us no good to see people engaging in vandalism while we stand by.
“We are committed to fulfilling our promise to the State government to help stop vandals.”
He went on to clarify, “Real scrap dealers, registered members, do not participate in vandalism. Those who do engage in such activities operate outside the Union’s notice. None of the individuals caught were registered members of the Ebonyi Scrap Dealers Association.”
The chairman further revealed, “From the interview we carried out, we learned that they are from Ebonyi State, residing in Anambra, and come to vandalize, carry and go to Anambra to sell and at times sell here, it is the dealers here in Ebonyi that is being accused of vandalisation, so we suffer for what we did not do.”
Chief Nwigwe maintained that the association is out to clampdown on vandals who vandalised government property and in turn tarnished the image of the association.
He appealed to the government to support the association in securing government property by mobilizing their task force. He stated, “We need government support for the mobility of our task force, as catching these vandals and bringing them to justice is a challenging task. We don’t want anybody who is not a registered member of the association to be trading or buying, because these are the ones that did not pass or go through the learning of the scrap business.”
He maintained that the vandals would be handed over to the Civil Defence for the law to take its course.
While expressing gratitude to the Governor of the State, Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonnaya Nwifuru and his wife, Chief Mrs. Mary Maudline Ogbonnaya Nwifuru, for their support, he assured them that the association would not let them down.
He further appealed to the committee responsible for empowerment programs to consider individuals like the arrested vandals and provide them with opportunities to gain legal employment.
Reacting, the suspected vandals Ebuka Nwehihe from Nkaliki Okaria in Ebonyi LGA and Emmanuel Okemini from Izzi LGA all in Ebonyi State both blamed hunger for stealing and pleaded for mercy.