Amaechi recommends heavier loads against rail vandals | The Guardian Nigeria News
Yesterday, Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi recommended that stiffer charges be imposed on anyone accused of vandalizing the country’s rail facilities.
Amaechi made the recommendation during a ministerial briefing hosted by the presidential media team at the State House, Abuja.
He felt that introducing tougher penalties such as manslaughter charges to punish vandals would go a long way in reducing the threat, which could derail a train and lead to serious deaths.
“You can imagine the number of people who will die as a result of this derailment. It is simply because a selfish Nigerian is trying to steal the trail to make money. I’m not saying they should be killed because there is poverty. But I’m saying they should be charged with manslaughter because people will die. But again, they will tell you that manslaughter means someone is dead.
“If someone dies, they should be charged with manslaughter. If no one dies, they should be charged with theft. This is my point of view, ”he said.
Amaechi lamented that rail clips are frequently stolen, resulting in huge losses in hard currency. He added, “If we enforce the track vandalism law, it will stop. And I asked the Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRA) about their police. He said they were sufficient.
“I am going to meet with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to give us enough men and equipment so that we can use them to monitor the tracks. Shifted from the narrow gauge to the normal gauge, it has become a national security issue because it is a daily movement, involving three, four, five, six trips a day. I think the law should deal with those who break it. The law should not be silent.
The minister revealed that Nigeria and China have signed a contract to manufacture train coaches locally in the country after an initial five-year period of local component assembly.
He hinted that the government would not hesitate to look to European banks for intervention if China does not provide assistance, adding that a finance company has already expressed willingness to finance some of the rail projects.
“If the Chinese don’t show up in the next few months, why shouldn’t we approach European banks to finance Ibadan in Kano? I will submit this to the Minister of Finance.
“Standard Chattered Bank has agreed to finance Lagos-Calabar; we negotiate with them. We are negotiating Port Harcourt-Maiduguri. Kano-Maradi is funded by Pedy-Swiss. We would look for money from everyone, ”he noted.