Some beneficiaries of the Lagos-Ibadan standard guage weeklong free train ride have lauded the Federal Government’s investment in rail transport, and called for sustenance of the inter-state service.
The beneficiaries, who spoke with newsmen on arrival at Iju in Lagos, from Ibadan, described the service as encouraging.
They noted that the train departed Ibadan few minutes after 9:00a.m. and got to Iju at 12:36p.m.
A businessman, Alhaji Abdulsamad Tani, who described the ride as comfortable, hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for commitment to reviving rail transport.
Tani said: “It is hard to believe that we can enjoy this kind of executive train service in our generation here, in Nigeria.
“We are very delighted that we have not lost our votes.
“We are praying for our President Muhammadu Buhari for sustenance of this kind of project.
“We heard that the project is going to extend to Kano and Maiduguri; this is awesome.”
According to him, if Nigerians in different geopolitical zones are linked by train, Nigeria’s unity will be stronger.
Another beneficiary, Mr Kayode Sinayomi, also a businessman, described the train ride as a great experience.
Sinayomi said: “I pray for maintenance of this. It is more advantageous for the masses to enjoy this to move from one point to the other.”
Alhaja Shekinah Salvador, who also benefitted told NAN: “This is a very pleasant way to travel.”
Alhaja Nafisat Saliu, another beneficiary, praised the Federal Government for the opportunity given to the masses to enjoy the free ride.
“Railway remains the way to go,” she said.
Intending passengers boarding train at Iju Station in Lagos enroute Ibadan on Thursday (5/12/19)
NAN reports that no fewer than 40 passengers were at the Iju Train Station as at 2:30p.m. on Thursday to enjoy free ride to Ibadan while many more started trooping into the station as the departure time drew closer.
By 3:00pm, all the seats in the two coaches had been filled by passengers while many were struggling to lobby their way into the train even to stand.
A 60-year-old intending passenger, Mr Ajibola Egbeyemi, told NAN that he wanted train services to avoid gridlock on the roads.
Egbeyemi, a media professional, said: “This is alright; more so Nigerian roads are not good. Train is the alternative. I parked my car at home to come and enjoy this. This will also reduce accidents on the road.”
Another intending passengers to Ibadan, Mr Oluwaseun Awosika, who said he had been a critic of the Federal Government, told NAN that he came to see what the government had done.
“I used to believe the government has not worked for the people, I came to experience what the government said it had done; with this, I am happy.
“This is good and encouraging,” Awosika said.
NAN reports that intending passengers were requested to show their means of identification before receiving tickets for the ride.
A Senior Station Master, Mr Sunday Abu, told NAN that people were getting to know about the free ride and the number of beneficiaries improved each day.
According to him, on Wednesday, the train moved 14 passengers to Lagos from Ibadan and returned with 31 passengers.
He said that 22 passengers enjoyed the free ride from Ibadan to Lagos on Thursday while no fewer than 36 passengers indicated registered to follow the train back to Ibadan from Lagos.
“The train leaves Ibadan for Lagos each day from Monday to Friday at 9:00a.m. and returns to Ibadan from Lagos at 4:00p.m.each day.
“We have two coaches of 24 seats each being used to run this service each day.