Africa: Second class ticket on Nigerian Trains that typify poverty and suffering
Traveling to 8 Nigerian cities in 14 days is an idea that I have been brewing for a very long time and on the 1st of September 2017 I decided to explore the railway system and make that dream come true, so I fixed a date – start 26th September and end on the 15th of October 2017!
Starting from Lagos – Ibadan – Osun – kaduna – Abuja – Jos – Enugu – Port Harcourt
After Exploring Ibadan, I headed to Osun by bus to board a train heading to Kaduna.
After much anticipation, 26 hours wait at Osogbo train station (sleeping bathing and brushing at the station) for the arrival of 1 KL (Kano Limited), At exactly 5.45 PM on Saturday the train finally arrived, tickets sold 45 minutes before arrival. Discovered the train was delayed 26 hours as a result of technical and maintenance issues as stated by one of the train hosts onboard! who chose to have his name withheld, stated, ” na rain damage and no maintenance from authorities na e cause am.”
He said, I respect his sincerity and candid opinion. The situation started first with the cancellation of the train route from Lagos to Ibadan, now a long 26 hours wait in Osogbo train station. Really sad I have to start my review on this trip from a negative perspective, but first impression matters right?
Excitedly been my first train trip, I bought a second class train ticket for N1,700 a mistake that became a pain in the ass. Would describe my first entrance at the second class train coach as horrific, first sighting a bunch of people choked in a single space, secondly restrooms oozing out like it’s been abandoned for weeks, sweats, odours oozing from every nook and cranny . It was extreme discomfort!
For the sake of adventure I decided I would stay in second class coach, explore and show the world what it is like in there. So I went searching for a conducive space, however, the more I search, the more nausea I developed, thinking of my health, states and distance we still have to cover, I headed out to replace my second class ticket to a first class.
The second class was occupied by 80% Hausas and 20% all other tribes judging from the train destination (Kaduna, Kano, Minna, Niger, Abuja, dressing) language and dressing. It is characterised by rooftop riders, people standing in every corner, people sleeping on the floor and so on!
Fairly, this coach should be described as an embodiment of distress and the word poverty, no pun intended. More painful is the fact that the train ticket costs enough to get a better treatment.
So who deserves a second class Nigerian train ticket in this present day? Class regardless, the second class coach shouldn’t be as bad as it is for the amount it’s been Sold. The space looks like it was sold for N500 or less but for N1700,it is not acceptable.
Our first class session welcomed an elderly man sweating profusely all the way from second class, according to him name withheld, “the place hot too much and e far from here.” Definitely not disputing the fact, having experienced it.
The second class is one area, the Nigerian railway corporation need to deal with, The first class of 1 KL could be made second class while a more developed version be created as first class. A proper and regular clean-up, proper maintenance should be ensured, and this can be achieved if those in authority selflessly commit, research on foreign train systems and maintenance emulate and make it work here. Sharing her experience in the second class session my train sit partner, name withheld “ko da! four people sat on my seat, it wasn’t good at all since then I haven’t tried it again.”