Illegal passengers caught hanging or sitting on train coach risk trial for attempted suicide and imprisonment, the Nigeria Railway Corporation has said. Currently, 23 of of such illegal passengers are standing trial.
The Assistant Director, Public Relations, NRC, Mr. David Ndakotsu, who spoke to our correspondent, said the corporation was collaborating with law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute defaulters.
Ndakotsu spoke against the background of last week’s event in Lagos, when an illegal passenger that sat on top of an Iddo-bound train battered a photo-journalist for taking shots of their action.
He said that their officials would be deployed in all rail stations especially along the Lagos-Ogun axis where the disorder was rampant, to ensure enforcement.
He said, “There are measures put in place. There is a five-year-old law that prohibits anybody from hanging and standing on train coaches; it allows their arrest and prosecution. About 23 of those arrested are being tried for attempted suicide because what they did was suicidal.
“Passengers must obtain their tickets to allow them sit in the cabins; that is only when insurance can cover them. However, it is unfortunate that these lawbreakers usually join a moving train just after it departs a station. On our part, we have continued to sensitise the public and to ensure passenger’s safety. However, we have collaborated with law enforcement agencies to ensure orderliness.”
Ndakotsu attributed the problem to congestion, saying the agency would deploy more coaches in the Lagos metropolis to accommodate the increasing number of rail passengers.
He said, “Part of the problem is congestion and we have called for more coaches from Maiduguri, Jos, Bauchi and Kaduna. They are undergoing refurbishment and will be in Lagos in two weeks. We planned to raise the number of coaches on a train to between 18 and 22 per hour.”