- Calls For Law To Try Anyone Stealing Rail Track For Manslaughter
Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has disclosed that work on the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line would commence in June, 2021.
According to the Minister, the Kano-Maradi rail project would also kickstart before the end of June.
Amaechi made this disclosure while speaking during an interview session on Arise TV, monitored by The New Diplomat.
While making a briefing on the activities of the federal ministry of transportation, the minister stated that all the necessary procedures for the commencement of the PH-Maiduguri rail line has been put in place.
Amaechi, however noted that the only thing that might further delay the commencement of the rail line project is the approval of some consulting engineers, as well as the cabinet approval.
According to him, once the ministry gets all the necessary approvals, the contractors assigned to the PH-Maiduguri rail line project will commence work.
Amaechi also disclosed that the federal government is waiting for funds from an European bank to commence the Ibadan-Abuja rail line.
In his words: “The Port Harcourt-Maiduguri will start this June. What may hold us from starting the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri this June is the approval of a consulting engineer. We are waiting for BPE to conclude their studies. If they give us approval then we go to cabinet. The moment cabinet approves the supervising/consulting engineers, then we will go to site.
“Already, we have mobilized the contractors from our budget, depending on when the loan agreement is reached. With the money we mobilize the contractors from our budget, they should be able to start from Port Harcourt to Aba. We believe that when we start before the end of this year we should be able to get to Aba in times of laying of tracks. I don’t know about the terminals and the signals yet, but I am sure we will get to Aba by the end of this year.
“I also expect that Kano-Maradi will start this June/July. What we are waiting for, in times of funding will be Ibadan-Abuja, but the rest of them will start this June,” he added.
Speaking further, the minister also noted that the federal government is aware of some individuals whose aim is to steal rail tracks and sell them.
According to Amaechi, the only way the government can stop the surging cases of rail track theft is by signing a bill criminalising the action. He stated that anyone who is caught stealing rail tracks should be tried for manslaughter.
In his explanation, the minister stated that the damage often done to rail tracks was capable of causing rail accidents, which can also lead to the death of many passengers.
In his words: “I have always supported those who said anyone who is found destroying the rail tracks should be tried for manslaughter. The reason is that, if you cut off the rail track, it takes about 800 meters for the rail driver to stop the train. So if he suddenly sees that there is no track at any particular place, even if he applies his break the train will derail and if it does, everybody will die. The law should be amended to include the fact that an individual should be tried for manslaughter if found culpable.
“We have the Nigeria rail way police, which inspect the track from time to time. We also have workers who live in different segment of the rail line to ensure that everything is okay. Where things are not okay, they will alert the management to fix whatever that is wrong.”