The federal government has revealed that it may consider a death penalty for vandals of critical railway equipment in the country.
This was revealed on Monday by the minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi during a town hall meeting on “protecting public infrastructure” in Abuja. Recall that the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) on May 8 announced the arrest of two persons suspected of vandalising rail tracks along the Kaduna-Zaria rail line.
Read Also: We Are In Depressing Times In Nigeria – Kate Henshaw
Days after the announcement, suspected vandals were arrested for destroying and carting away tracks and rail rods laid on a section of the Warri-Itakpe rail line. Speaking on the development, the Kaduna state police comnand on May 16 disclosed that it arrested five suspected rail-trail vandals at Dalle Village of Jema’a LGA and recovered two trucks loaded with locomotive railway sleepers.
After the Warri-Itakpe incident, the senate asked the federal government and security agencies to ensure that those caught vandalising rail lines across Nigeria are given maximum punishment without a fine.
Read Also: “Nobody Will Carry Your Work On Their Head The Way You Would…Even If You Pay Them Salary!” – Yemi Alade
”I am not quantifying the material cost; what I am quantifying is the lives that will be lost,” Ameachi said at the town hall meeting. Imagine that a driver of a rail track is driving and suddenly bumps into a track that has been severed, what happens? It will derail. If it derails, can you quantify how many passengers that would have died in the course of one man thinking he is making money? Some people have recommended that since these people are killing people, if an accident happens people will die, so we should go back to the National Assembly and pass a law that does not only criminalise the action but consequences should be death.”
The minister also said track vandalism is carried out in collaboration with foreign partners.
”In Jos, they arrested a Chinese company that bought those tracks from them, went to court and found them guilty and fined them N200, 000. So there must be consequences as N200,000 is not enough,” he added.
“Lagos and the Western District recorded one, North Western 31, Northern District 10, North Eastern 43, Eastern 36 and North Central 50 incidents of vandalism. Abuja-Kaduna has 13, Warri-Itakpe 2 and Lagos -Ibadan nill.”
Amaechi, who frowned at traders selling items on railway tracks, especially in Port Harcourt and Lagos, advised individuals engaging in the practice to desist or face the penalties.
Photo Credit: Getty