*We are Refurbishing the Coaches- Lagos NRC Manager
The poor condition of exterior and interior of coaches used in conveying passengers on interstate and long distance trips by Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has remained a source of concern to stakeholders in the sector,Leadership newspaper has reported.
After several complaints without positive response, commuters patronising Lagos Mass Transit Train (LMTT) now disembark the trains sweating profusely and muttering unpalatable words over the poor standards of the coaches.
According Mr. Alloy Agu, a landlord at Alagbado in Ogun state, “At first, when I newly parked into my personal building at Okponsuru, I was informed that train was the best mode of transit to Lagos Mainland and Island but after inspecting the poor state of seats, roof, windows and fans that are not functional in the coaches, I vowed never to use the train.”
He stated categorically that it is dehumanising for a corporation that is generating revenue to convey passengers in coaches that don’t have steps, windows, roofs, leather covered seats and fans.
Agu posited that oftentimes, the coaches are filled to the brim to the extent that the bodies of passengers hanging on the doors collide with parked vehicles and trailers leading to injuries and deaths.
A regular passenger on the LMTT, Mr. Jide Are, wondered how much it will cost the NRC to refurbish its coaches. He noted that the condition of the coaches is such that during both rainy and dry seasons, passengers are exposed to heat and rain water due to the absence of windows in most of the coaches.
He explained further that some of the doors don’t have steps that can be used to board and come out of the coaches even as the ceiling and loading rake of the coaches are begging for replacement.
Mr. Eric Umezurike, managing director, First Rit Nigeria Limited however said that the coaches used in providing long distance passenger train service from Lagos to Kano and back are more comfortable compared to the coaches used in operating Lagos mass transit train service.
But the Lagos District Manager of NRC, Engr. Jerry Oche alleged that passengers were responsible for vandalizing the windows, fans and seats. He stated that some of the windows and fans as well as seats are currently being replaced.
Oche noted that some of the steps in the coaches are damaged by the road topography when the trains are on motion adding that the corporation has designed steps that could be fixed to the coaches for easy entry and exit of passengers from the coaches. He stated that the Nigerian Railway Police in collaboration with Railway tax force organise periodic raids to discourage some passengers from climbing roof top of trains.
According to him some of the passengers climb roof top of coaches so as to engage in all sorts of atrocities like smoking, drinking, fighting and causing all sorts of vices.