MINNA – Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) District Office in Minna, Niger, has warned people in the state against trading and clustering on rail tracks, saying it was unlawful.
The Public Relations Officer of the corporation in the district, Alhaji Akinwoye Abdulraouf, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna on Friday.
Abdulraouf said the illegal acts were also dangerous as to lives and could adversely affect operations of the corporation.
“The corporation put gates at all its terminals but motorists and traders at the Gwari Market in Minna have destroyed the gates, in the name of trading.
“The gates at the rail tracks have been destroyed repeatedly by impatient motorists in spite of sensitisation in the media and one-on-one encounters with traders in the market,’’ he said.
He added that the keeper of the level crossing alerted people with a red flag whenever a train was approaching but was usually not taken serious by traders and motorists who continued to clog the rail tracks.
“A locomotive engine cannot stop for traders on the tracks; it is not done; it is impossible because it has the right of way but people are careless and adamant in their ways,’’ he stressed.
Abdulraouf recalled a recent incident which involved a couple at a rail line at the Gwari market in Minna, saying that the wife managed to escape but the husband was not as lucky.
He said that the train driver struggled to avoid hitting the couple but was unsuccessful, adding that if the driver had done otherwise, the train would have derailed and all the people on board would have died.
According to him, items recovered from the accident are yet to be claimed by the family of the couple.
He stated that by the corporation’s regulation, the accident victims were supposed to pay for the damage to the locomotive as a result of the incident, adding that it would cost the corporation a lot of money to repair the locomotive.
He, however, said that the corporation would sustain its sensitization of the public on the dangers of trading along the rail lines and of ignoring the red flag alert by the level crossing’s keeper. (NAN)