Railway vandals should be charged with manslaughter -Rotimi Amaechi
Minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has stated that anyone caught vandalising railway facilities in the country should be charged with manslaughter.
This statement was made by the transportation minister while speaking on Friday during a ministerial media briefing at the statehouse in Abuja.
Amaechi said applying stringent laws would curb the deadly act, which he said could cause train derailment and the death of unsuspecting passengers.
“That’s why I say to Nigerians that if I were to be a lawmaker, I’ll be recommending manslaughter charge against those who engage in vandalisation of rail tracks,” he said.
“The reason is that it takes about 800 metres for a locomotive to stop. As it’s running now, it is running with speed. The moment it wants to stop, the driver will apply break here and it will take 800 metres to stop.
“So, how will the driver know that you have removed or vandalised a track 800m away? He will not know until it gets to the track. So, when it gets to the track, what happens? He applies brake. But he needs 800m to stop.
“So, once it gets to that track that has been vandalised, he will derail. Once it derails, some people may die.
“Each coach takes 85 persons. And we are talking about 14, 20 coaches. You can imagine the number of people that will die as a result of that derailment.
“This is just because one selfish Nigerian is trying to steal track to make money. I think like other countries, I’m not saying that they should be killed because there’s poverty. But I’m saying they should be charged for mass manslaughter because people will die.”
Amaechi specified that rail vandals should be charged for manslaughter if there are fatalities.
“If nobody dies, they should be charged for stealing,” he noted.
The minister lamented that railway clips are frequently stolen which costs the country huge amount of foreign currency to replace.
“Like Kaduna-Abuja, over 6,000 to 10,000 clips have been stolen and have to be replaced daily so that we don’t have a situation where the train derails. These clips are not made in Nigeria. They are bought overseas. So, we buy them in dollars,” he said.
“Part of solution is something called anti-theft clips. But they are more expensive. It is three times more expensive than the current one. But it’s better. We are now replacing them with anti-theft clips in Lagos-Ibadan. All other constructions will now be anti-theft. With anti-theft, you can’t open it. You can’t remove it.”
Amaechi said he would ask the inspector general of police (IGP) to provide enough men and materials to safeguard tracks.
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