A passenger hanging on a train coach along the Ikeja boarding station died on Wednesday in a police raid at the rail station in Lagos.
The victim was reportedly running atop the coach to escape violence with which the police swooped on the passengers when he snapped off at edge of the train.
Other passengers who were eye witnesses of the incidence told our correspondent that the policemen appeared with a suddenness that caught the passengers unawares. The police raid, which passengers said had noticeably begun few days ago also saw some passengers severely injured as they snapped off from top of the coaches to avoid police brutality or arrest.
Other hanging passengers caught by the police were reportedly molested.
When a Saharareporters correspondent visited the Ikeja station today, few hours after the incidence, some passengers still hung on, sitting, standing and also walking on a moving train.
The aggressive passengers avoided cameras, and some attempted to mob the journalist who tried to fetch information regarding the incidence.
Some passengers however volunteered information. A passenger complained that the trains were not enough and they had to wait to catch anyone at sight going their way.
"It is faster when compared to buses because there is no traffic on the rail tracks", one passenger said.
Others preferred the rail transport system due to its lesser cost.
"I live in Ijoko and if I must get to Ikeja by road, I'd spend up to N400, but the train will only cost me N150", a female passenger said. She explained that her abode is much indented in Ijoko and she would have to board a bike to connect the road at cost of N100 and then board to Sango for additional N50 before beginning the journey to Ikeja-Oshodi at a cost between N200 and N300, depending on the circumstance.
Mostly, the passengers often justified their resolve for the rail transport with blames on poor state of roads and traffic situations in Lagos State.
"Imagine spending four hours on the road. If I leave workplace by 6pm and spend four hours before reaching home, not forgetting that I must be out as early as 5 a.m the following morning, I'll grow physically old so soon", complained another passenger.
He added; "You don't want to experience the traffic between Ile-epo and Oja-Oba. The road is dead and government is doing nothing about it. One car passes at a time because the road is completely collapsed. Lagos-Abeokuta express road for that matter"
A staff member at the Ikeja station who pleaded anonymity suggested that the number of coaches to a train could be increased to accommodate more passengers.
"What we are facing here is that passengers are more than the coaches available. Most of those hanging on the train bought their boarding tickets but there is no space in the coaches for them to sit", the railway worker said.
The worker added that although some touts habitually hung on the train without paying, she however decried the poor provisions made for the rail system.
"One train always waits for the other coming opposite ways to go first before continuing its own journey. But even if one rail track is all we have, the coaches could be more for each engine to contain those who had to hang due to shortage of space in the coaches", the worker said further.
On top of a train on Wednesday, a passenger hanging on the train coach snapped off as he attempted to escape police raid, and he died shortly after. Saharareporters could not immediately confirm the victim's name as passengers and staff of the Ikeja railway station said they only saw him in the incidence.
The staff said Railway transport system has suffered neglect, whereas it should be better alternative to poor roads and traffic in Lagos State and throughout Nigeria.