Nigeria is on a journey to ensure optimal train services as the case in developed nations of the world. Even though there are many challenges encountered in the process, there is a conscious effort to ensure that trains become a major means of transportation.
Algeria, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya, and Senegal tops the list of some of the few African countries with vibrant Railway Transport System.
Though Nigeria started ahead of some of them, the country is miles off the required standard in patronage and facilities.
In my quest to know what has been and what could have been, I took a journey to the Mobolaji Johnson Station situated in Ebute-Metta.
I was surprised that the terminal was near empty despite arriving here, one hour to departure time. Some of the passengers share their experiences.
The viral video of a staff advising intending passengers not to purchase tickets from the counter on the premises that they will be sorted in the coaches, poses some questions which took me to the office of the MD, Nigerian Railway Commission in search for answers.
The Abuja-Kaduna train attack where hundreds of passengers travelling northward were kidnapped last year is still fresh in the mind of Nigerians.
This raises security concerns on the safety of train users.
One major talking point is the sustainability of Nigeria’s railway system, which has been agreed to thrive in a viable business model with an adaptive mode of operation that is better suited to the customers’ needs.
When the Minister of Transport visited Lagos in September 2023, he promised to ensure that the train system is effectively and efficiently managed to compete with other developed nations of the world, hopefully his immediate and future plans will ensure growth.