LAGOS – Train users in Lagos have condemned Tuesday’s attack on a train station at Itoki in Ogun State, describing it as uncalled for.
The hoodlums also vandalised facilities at the station a day after Vice President Namadi Sambo inaugurated some coaches at the Lagos Terminus at Iddo .
Sambo inaugurated two new Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) and six 68-capacity air- conditioned coaches.
A ticket for a seat in the newly introduced air-conditioned coaches costs N750.
The increase took effect from June 10.
Some hoodlums attacked the station, vandalised trains and coaches before burning the station.
They also carted away money, tickets and phones belonging to staff members of the corporation who fled from the scene.
No fewer than 100 persons have been arrested by the Nigerian Railway Police Command over the vandalism.
Train users are dissatisfaction with the violence which described as outrageous.
Mr Kabiru Adegbenla, a trader, who plies the Iddo-Agbado Route, said that any protest against the hike in fare should not result into destruction of facilities.
“We do not support any act of destruction to property meant to alleviate the plight of the masses.
“The vandals failed to realise that they are not hurting the government but the masses; this kind of action can discourage the government,“ he said.
Adegbenla, however, described the increase in fare as `unfair’, saying that the masses were finding it difficult to cope with the harsh economic situation.
He urged the NRC management to reverse its decision to discourage hanging on trains and other bad behaviour by some train users.
Mr Kayode Adegboye, who plies the Ijoko-Ebute Meta Route, urged Nigerians to shun violent protests.
“While we are dissatisfied with the increase in fare, we are not in support of facility vandalism because all of us will still suffer the consequence,“ Adegboye said.
He appealed to the corporation to revert to charging N150 to help the masses.
Mrs Lucy Edward, who joins the train from Itoki to Oshodi, Lagos, where she sells clothes, said that the closure of Itoki Station following the attack, would add to the problems of train users.
“This is because we have to either go to Ijoko or Agbado to join the train which will cost an additional N100.
“The increase in fare, though not good, should not lead to wanton destruction of property.
“All the same, the management should revert to the old fare and re-open the Itoki Station soonest,’’ Edward said.
Mr John Ogunleye, a student of Yaba College of Technology, told NAN that every person or group had the right to peaceful protest but had no right to cause havoc.
“No protest should go beyond showing our displeasure to the hike in fare in words; when it turns violent, it is criminal.“ he said.
Another commuter, Mr Abayomi Adebowale, a welder, also condemned the attack but urged that the cost of train services should be subsidised in the interest of the poor.
Adebowale urged President Goodluck Jonathan to order the reversal of the fare to N150 as part of his administration’s efforts to boost rail transport.
He called on the government to punish the masterminds of the attack.
Mr Stephen Peter, also a train user, said, “I am not in support of the destruction; what those vandals did is not good. Why should they destroy train, coaches?’’
Speaking on the increased fare, the Lagos District Manager of the NRC, Mr Akin Osinowo, told NAN that the Federal Government had already subsidised the cost of train services.
“Already train services are heavily subsidised, even with the increased fare; N230 is not the value.
“We spend money on diesel and maintenance everyday to keep the train on track,’’ Osinowo said. (NAN)