FG Deliberates Death Penalty for Railway Vandals

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The Federal Government on Monday said it may consider capital punishment for railway track vandals in the country.

Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, said this during a Town Hall Meeting on “Protecting Public Infrastructure” in Abuja.

Amaechi described rail track vandalism as a capital offence and said its consequences should be treated as such.

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“I am not quantifying the material cost; what I am quantifying is the lives that will be lost. 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.

“Each coach in Nigeria carries about 85 passengers, sometimes we carry 14 coaches, sometimes 20. So, imagine you are carrying a train of 14 or 20 coaches with 85 passengers in each coach, if it derails, can you quantify how many passengers that would have died in the course of one man thinking he is making money.

“So, it is not about the cost, but the lives that would have been lost because of little interest. 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,” he said.

The minister further suggested that if armed robbery, whether successful or not, attracts life imprisonment, rail track vandalism should not be any less.

He said the track vandalism was being done in collaboration with foreign partners.

“In Jos, they arrested a Chinese company that bought those tracks from them, went to court and the court found them guilty and fined them N200, 000. So, there must be consequences as N200,000 is not enough.”

Amaechi commended residents along the Lagos-Ibadan rail track as no incident of vandalism has been recorded along the route.

“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 two and Lagos -Ibadan nill.”

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