By divine providence and the need to provide security for the citizens of the country, a plan was put in place to install security cameras in Abuja and Lagos. In 2010, a loan of $470 million was secured from the China Exim Bank for the project. The contract was awarded to a Chinese firm, ZTE Corporation.
On August 26, 2011, the United Nations Headquarters building in Abuja was bombed by terrorists. Boko Haram terror group claimed responsibility for the attack. This terror attack gingered the contractors to move faster on the project. However, no sooner had the public begun to anticipate the deployment of the cameras to improve security than the project was abandoned. The abandonment was alleged to be due to the inability of the federal government to pay the counterpart funding of 15%.
More than 10 years down the line, the installed facilities have suffered neglect, vandalization and pilfering. This is more worrisome given the increasing terror attacks in the country by the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists.
The Senate House Committee on Security has instituted several panels to investigate the contract, but there has been nothing concrete from the investigations.
The loan is still being serviced by the Federal Government, yet the facilities in both Abuja and Lagos are not functioning. The sad aspect is that nobody has been brought to book, so it is business as usual. If these cameras were operational, the carnage suffered during the EndSARS protests could have been minimised as the cameras would have been able to pick at least some of the culprits.
The Lagos State Government (LASG) is currently installing new CCTV all over the city as part of its integrated smart city network programme at a huge cost.
A nation cannot survive under this system of impunity, lack of accountability and the absence of the rule of law. Here is hoping the current installations by LASG are insured and measures are equally being put in place to protect them from being vandalized.
If it is impossible for the installed facilities by the Chinese in Abuja and Lagos to become functional, would it not be better to remove them from the various locations to spare us the agony of helplessly staring at another failed project and rid the environment of unnecessary filth?
*Onabanjo is the founder of GO-FORTE FOUNDATION, an organisation dedicated to the restoration of the environment.