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EDITORIAL

Need for improved policing in rail way services

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IT IS disconcerting that the scourge of railway attack on passengers surfaced in the sleepy town of Igueben in Edo State on January 7. Nigerians were embarrassed and devastated by the continued audacity and intrepidity of the criminal gangs who have made the ungoverned forests and areas in the country their permanent habitation.

  ACCORDING to media accounts, over 21 passengers who boarded the train heading to Warri in Delta State were abducted by the daredevils and taken into  hideouts. Thereafter, the abductors got in touch with the relatives of their captors and negotiated for ransom. It is however consoling that security operatives and the local hunters have so far, rescued some of the captives, even as some vulnerable persons like pregnant women and children were released without ransom.

  GIVEN a similar horrendous attack on a train last year along the Kaduna – Abuja railway axis where many precious lives were lost and scores abducted with millions of naira spent in  negotiation with the hoodlums, one  expected that the management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) would  evolve an efficient measure that would nip such organised attacks in the bud.

  IT IS worth recalling, the huge foreign and local loans taken by the federal government for the revival of rail transport infrastructure in Nigeria as argued would boost the  nation’s economy.

   THE pervasive and worsening  insecurity in the country damps the confidence of people to resort to that mode of transportation which is comparably cheaper, cost effective for business transactions and best for evacuating heavy loads to far away destinations. Economically, the rail system of transportation  lessens the  pressure on  roads which, having taken a great financial cost to build, collapse by the heavy impact of trailers and oil and gas tankers. But developments like the now repeating attack of rail ways  hinder the economic and social goals.

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  ON THIS score, it is imperative for the management of the NRC and Nigerian Police  to reinvent the Nigeria Railway Police to rise to its responsibility and go a notch higher to key into the global best practices in railway transportation and safety services. This will revive the interest of the people in railway transportation, which will enhance the revenue of government, diversify commerce and boost business practice generally across country.

  NATIONAL Light also believes that  one cannot talk about railway insecurity without mentioning the national insecurity since security is germane to meaningful and sustainable socioeconomic growth and development. What is of overriding importance is that it has become imperative for government to consider tinkering with the existing security architecture which is at variance with the federal system of government as obtained in  true federations the world over. In other words, government should strive to take bold measures geared towards securing the sovereign territorial integrity of the state.  There should be  clearly defined aims and objectives of a reinvented Nigeria Railway Police  establishment with appropriate legal provisions and  commensurate accouterments to stem the emerging scourge of  gangsterism in every part of the country.

  IN ADDITION, the Nigeria Railway Police should be upbeat with relevant information and be able to share same with other security agencies such as updates on its routes and on regular surveillance of all the forests across the country where rail tracks pass with the view of making the criminal gangs uncomfortable to use forests as fortresses from where they  launch their nefarious acts.

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  NATIONAL Light believes that a well operated  NRC will help significantly in  boosting the national economy and help drive  Nigeria’s  exports and imports  economy. Towards this however, NRC should be sensitive to the contract  it  has  with passengers and ensure that it fulfills it  since the passengers pay the transportation charges and are entitled to getting to their destinations.

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