Time was 7.30pm, November 1, 2016. As usual the train was jam-packed with passengers locked in a fight for a leg room in its 16 coaches. Several miscreants were either sitting on the rooftop of the coaches or hanging to any available space, including the locomotive engine room.
Roof-riding has become a culture which many, especially miscreants, find attractive. It is a world where only the bold can dare. There, crime and drugs are prominent features.That Tuesday, both were not in short supply.
When the train made a stopover at Shogunle, security operatives dislodged the “illegal riders.” The news got ahead of the train even before it reached Ikeja enroute Ijoko, where more daring riders, armed with stones and other missiles, took over the train roofs. Sensing that the railway police would carry out a raid at Agege, they unleashed mayhem as the train approached the place, throwing stones and other objects. They damaged the train terminal and the police station.
A baby strapped to her mother’s back was hit on the head. She died the next morning.
Irate Agege youths stormed the station in anger, destroying properties and other valuables of the railway. They demanded a stop of train services until the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) eradicate rooftop riding. Four passengers were injured in the mayhem. The corporation footed their medical bills and suspend service between Wednesday and Thursday.
The people’s anger prompted the corporation to embark on a manhunt for the miscreants. Using the Lagos State Police Command, Railway Police Command, its task force and the Man-O-War gang, the NRC carried out a sting operation at dawn on its Mass Transit Shuttle Train (MTST) at Iju Station. During the exercise, 100 miscreants were arrested. NRC Lagos District Manager Mr. Jerry Oche said the operation would send a signal to miscreants that their time is up. Read more