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Reps to probe rail accidents nationwide

The House of Representatives on Tuesday resolved to investigate the spate of rail accidents that have occurred across the country resulting in the deaths of motorists.

Dismayed by the November 16 rail accident which occurred at the Fagba area of Ifako Ijaye Federal Constituency of Lagos state, the lawmakers passed the resolution er adopting the motion sponsored by Hon. Akinwunmi Olaitan and Hon. Jimoh Olajide, to investigate the Lagos incident.

The probe will unearth what caused the accident in order to prevent a future occurrence and as well sanction those culpable.

In its resolution, the House further directed the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) to urgently provide rail level crossing barriers, highway codes and alarm systems at all rail level crossings nationwide to reduce incessant deaths at railway intersections.

The lawmakers expressed concern at the high level of negligence by motorists and the management of the rail corporation, such that a train not only derails, but rams into a trailer on the rail line causing multiple vehicle crashes and resulting in the death of seven persons because there are not safety signs or warnings.

According to the lawmakers, it is unacceptable that rail lines and terminals have been turned into markets where all manner of trade are carried out, insisting that the anomaly must cease while appropriate measures are introduced to maintain law and order on all rail lines across the country.

Sponsor of the motion, Hon Olaitan in his lead debate, frowned at the negligent attitude of motorists whom he blamed for majority of the accidents.

He attributed the situation to the failure of drivers to obey highway codes and the failure of the railway authorities in providing level crossing barriers, even when they are aware that most crossing locations are among the most eventful points on the transportation network.

Olaitan further lamented the enormity of train accidents, given the size of the locomotives and the attendant consequences and called for the provision of modern railway crossing barriers, bells,railway/roads signs and signals as well as lights to alert motorists and other road users to the proximity of a moving train.

The investigation is to be carried out by the House committees on police affairs, information, national orientation, ethics and values as well as land transportation.

Henry Omunu, Abuja

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