says FG must compensate victims
Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has demanded the probe of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and the Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria, following the bombing of a Kaduna-bound train last Monday.
Falana, who is the interim Chairman, Alliance on Surviving Covid-19 and Beyond, specifically asked the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to direct the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to probe Amaechi and Okhiria for negligence and constantly deceiving Nigerians about the safety of the railway despite intelligence to the contrary.
The senior advocate said this in a statement, on Monday, titled, ‘Officials Whose Criminal Negligence Caused the Bomb Attack on the Abuja-Kaduna Train Should Be Prosecuted.’
The activist noted that there was a bomb explosion on the same railway in October last year but both Amaechi and the NRC boss downplayed the severity of the situation, describing the attack as railway vandalism.
Falana said, “Although both Messrs Amaechi and Okhiria knew that the Abuja-Kaduna train was not safe, they kept on giving passengers a false sense of security.
“Since both of them knew that the tragedy that befell the nation last week was waiting to happen and did not adopt measures to prevent it, the President should direct the Inspector-General of Police to investigate and prosecute them for criminal negligence. Meanwhile, both of them should not be allowed to continue to risk the lives of train passengers in the country."
The senior advocate also faulted Amaechi’s claim that his attempt to install security equipment along the affected railway was rebuffed by the Federal Executive Council.
Falana said Amaechi ought not to have attempted to award such a contract to a firm that was not qualified.
Following the terrorist attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train last week, the Minister of Transportation blamed the Federal Government for exposing passengers to danger by not acquiring and installing the vital security equipment recommended by him.
“But evidence has since established that the incompetent company recommended to fix the security surveillance on the train by the Minister was rejected last September. It means that for the past seven months the Minister abandoned the security surveillance for some inexplicable reasons,” said Falana.
The senior advocate also advised victims of the attack to demand compensation from the NRC for failing to protect them.
He said this had become necessary since the NRC had continued to deceive passengers into thinking that there were more than enough security operatives on the train.
“The injured passengers and the family members of the deceased are advised to sue the Ministry of Transportation and the Nigerian Railway Corporation for aggravated compensation as they are vicariously liable for the tragic incident.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Section 78(1) of the Nigerian Railway Corporation Act provides that ‘The Corporation shall not be liable for personal injury to, or loss of life of a passenger, unless the personal injury or loss of life is caused by want of reasonable care, diligence or skill on the part of the corporation or its servants,’” Falana said.