Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has decried high rate of theft and vandalism of rail tracks and railway components within Enugu State.
Mr Olusoji Osidipe, NRC Railway District Manager (East) revealed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Friday.
Osidipe noted that the high vandalism and theft of railway track and other component was one of the major challenges hindering locomotive services within the Enugu axis of the Eastern corridors of the railway.
He said locomotive (train) service on Aba-Port Harcourt axis of the corridor had been operational and relatively steady, adding that it had been helpful to traders and farmers within that axis.
The manager said that the NRC through the help of the Nigeria Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) had launched full scale crack down on vandals and robbers.
According to him, within the last six months since I took over as manager of this eastern corridor, we have caught and imprisoned 20 vandals.
“It is not easy, but through the help of law enforcement agencies, we are closing in on almost all of them.
“I beg these people to leave our rail tracks and components alone to service the good people of Nigeria especially the downtrodden in the society,’’ he said.
Osidipe said that he had made several advocacy visits to traditional rulers in the rail corridors where vandalism was high to appeal to them and their subjects to help fight these vandals.
“I have made several visits to our revered monarchs, telling them why and how they should join the NRC to fight this menace of vandalism.
“The NRC has gone ahead to intimate them on the overwhelming benefits a functional rail service can be to them, their subjects and communities,’’ he said.
The manager however, noted that the NRC was planning to start operation between the Enugu-Aba-Port Harcourt corridors very soon.
“On this, we are planning to have a deep welding of all the rail track and components together so that it makes it difficult for few people to cut or carry away rail materials.
“While we are reaching out to locals to give prompt report on any suspicion activities or persons on the rail tracks,’’ he said.