By Victor Ikhatalor
SIR: The federal government, according to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi is mulling capital punishment for rail track vandals in the country. During a Town Hall meeting on “Protecting Public Infrastructure” which held in Abuja on Monday, June 7, Amaechi opined: “rail track vandalism is a capital offence and its consequences should be treated as such”.
Rail track vandalism, cannot just be seen as base acts of stealing for profit but must be seen – due to the hydra-headed resultant dire consequences – as economic sabotage/terrorism and in applicable cases acts of sabotage – translating into acts of war.
Vandalized rail tracks translates not only to sabotaging the economy i.e. in needless expenditure to fix looted rail tracks but more poignant and consequential – vandalized rail tracks translates to derailed trains – which translates to dead commuters.
As concerning as the activities of thieving rail track saboteurs are, and as laudable as the intentions of the federal government to seek the stiffest penalty to stem the tide – the remedy and it’s conceptualization, unfortunately is in keeping with the prescribed methodology of our public office holders – in forever, falling over themselves to deal with the symptoms, instead of the disease – a “disease” of which they are the “host”.
By the way, whatever is wrong in the consideration of “life imprisonment” as a fitting and proper sanction! What is the continuing fascination with the imposition of “direst consequences” by the ruling class upon “subject” people – “sanctions” that they(elites) are averse to when mooted in any legislation that may affect them!
What is the distinction between a rail track thief and a public office holder thief who steals money meant for roads, healthcare, pipe-borne water, pensions, military equipment, to mention but a few. Are there really any consequential differences as a result of the action of the rail track thief and thieves who steal from the public till, negating infrastructural development and provision of amenities etc?
The consequential results of public office stealing are so odious, numerous and laced with such dire reckoning that indeed the death penalty as a sanction will be most deserving. Just like Amaechi could see the consequential results of rail track bandits so clearly as to say “I am not quantifying the material cost; what I am quantifying is the lives that will be lost” – so also are the results of official corruption so empirically and clearly manifest.
When Rt Hon Rotimi Amaechi goes to the National Assembly, he should go with a “Bill” which not only to seek the death penalty for rail track vandals but for other crimes that fall within the ambit of “economic terrorism”. At the very top and chief amongst crimes of economic terrorism must be government/official stealing that dwarfs all others in its consequences.