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Rail track vandals should be charged with manslaughter – Amaechi

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi. (Nairametrics)

The Minister for Transportation Rotimi Amaechi has said imposing strict penalties will curb railway vandalism in the country.

The minister said this during the ministerial briefing by the Presidential Communications Team at the presidential villa in Abuja on Friday, July 2, 2021.

He said the frequent theft of railway clips costs the country huge sums of dollars to replace, adding that the act is capable of causing derailment and killing passengers.

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He therefore recommended that imposing strict penalties would curb railway vandalism in the country.

Amaechi said, “If I were to be a lawmaker, I’ll be recommending manslaughter charges against those who engage in vandalisation of rail tracks.

One of the truckload of rail sleepers recovered from rail track vandals (TheCable)

“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 800 meters away? He will not know until it gets to the track.

“So, when it gets to the track, what happens? He applies break. But he needs 800 metres 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.

But again, they will tell you that manslaughter means that somebody died. If anybody dies, they should be charged for manslaughter. If nobody dies, they should be charged for stealing. That’s my view.”

It would be recalled that last month, police arraigned suspected railway vandals at the Federal High Court sitting in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

The vandals were charged for conspiracy, economic sabotage, and terrorism.

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