A syndicate specialising in steal rail clips holding sleepers and rail lines has been arrested, the northern district of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) in Zaria, says.
Activities of vandals in recent times have led to the derailment of trains.
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Last week, a train loaded with water pipes from Lagos to Zaria derailed around Unguwar Kanawa axis of Kaduna, opposite Sultan Bello Mosque as a result of vandalism.
However, while parading the syndicate on Friday evening in Zaria, the Northern District Engineer, Zaria, Haruna Sabo said the thieves were arrested by staff of the district office at Sayi-Dumbi section along Zaria-Kaduna axis on Friday.
Sabo said the railway inspection and maintenance unit has provided and assigned personnel to man trenches of rail lines on daily basis adding that the personnel were expected to be on patrol of such trenches.
“While these personnel were on duty, they saw the vandals removing bolt and knot, rail clips on the track; the clips hold the sleepers and rail together,” he said.
The district engineer noted that removing bolt and knots, as well as rails clips on the tracks is a major reason why trains derail which could lead to catastrophic accidents.
He further said while police investigation has led to the arrest of the buyer of the clips, the vandals have been handed over to the Railway Police in Zaria for further investigation in order to apprehend other collaborators.
He appealed to the public to provide useful information on such vandals adding that railway lines are public property and safeguarding them was a collective responsibility.
One of the suspects, Sabitu Kabiru, a resident of Matara Sarki in Zaria Local Government Area said it was their first outing adding that his friend, Umar Faruk, who specialises in removing the clips escaped when NRC personnel attempted to arrest them.
Similarly, Sabi’u Shehu, a resident of Taryan Sarki in Zaria LGA said he used to buy iron from the suspect (Sabitu Kabiru) but denied buying stolen railway properties from him.