Nigerian Government Vows to Halt Railway Vandalism

Abuja, Nigeria, July 9, 2024 — The Nigerian government has reiterated its commitment to halting the activities of railway vandals across the country. This assurance was given by the Minister of Transportation, Said Alkali, during an oversight function along the ongoing Kano/Kaduna and Abuja/Kaduna rail lines with members of the National Assembly committees on land transportation.

Minister Alkali stated that the Nigerian Railway Corporation is working diligently to prevent vandalism. “We are deploying extensive surveillance measures in conjunction with security agencies to ensure these properties are not vandalized,” he said.

Senate Committee Chairman on Land Transport, Adamu Aliero, highlighted the National Assembly’s plan to develop stringent legislation that would criminalize vandalism, potentially making it punishable by the death penalty. “If possible, any vendor caught sabotaging public infrastructure should face the death penalty. This could significantly reduce vandalism,” Aliero added.

Regarding the budgetary aspects of railway projects, the Minister of Transportation noted that the inspection would facilitate defending the budget for railway modernization projects. “They have seen it themselves, so during the budget session, it will be easier for us to defend what the ministry is doing in terms of railway modernization. The President is committed to ensuring these projects are completed and operational, recognizing transportation as a key driver of economic growth,” Alkali stated.

President Bola Tinubu has directed Vice President Kashim Shettima to engage in bilateral discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping on financing the Ibadan to Abuja and Kaduna to Kano rail lines. Alkali added that funding for the Kaduna to Kano project has already been released.

Senate Committee Chairman Adamu Aliero praised the efforts of the Transportation Ministry. “This joint committee of both the House and Senate has inspected the rail line construction between Kaduna and Kano. We are impressed with the dedication of the ministry and the contractor. The project is on track to meet its 2025 or 2026 deadline, possibly even earlier,” he said.

Addressing the funding challenges, Aliero mentioned that the committee would engage with the Debt Management Office (DMO), the Minister of Finance, the Attorney General of the Federation, and the Minister of Transportation to ensure the project is completed on time.

House Representative Member Mrs. Blessing Onuh stated that the committee would further discuss how to review the contract and install anti-theft mechanisms to prevent vandalism of the existing tracks.

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