Hoodlums and destitute have taken over the newly constructed rail terminals along the Lagos-Badagry expressway with the criminals using the facilities as a resting place by day and sometimes attacking passers-by at night.
The terminals, located at Mile 2 and Alaba-Suru, also serve as home for the street beggars at night.
“I knew of a boy who lost his handset and money to those bad boys in the rail terminal at Suru-Alaba,” said Chukwudi Simon, a resident of Alaba-Suru.
He said the rail terminal had become a threat to them, adding that government should expedite action on its completion.
“My brother, you see that place is no-go area at night. It is a serious threat for us passing there to work and home.
“I wonder what is taking the government to complete and put the rail system to work. They should be quick about it,” Mr. Simon added.
The Lagos State government awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of the Lagos-Badagry expressway in 2009.
The project, handled by the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company, CCECC, and which involves the expansion of the previous four-lane highway to ten lanes as well as a metro rail line from Orile Iganmu to Okokomaiko, is expected to be completed in 2019.
A petty trader along the walkway at Mile 2, who identified herself simply as Mrs. Funke, said she had witnessed a lot of crimes perpetrated by hoodlums using the rail terminal at Mile 2 as a target point.
About two weeks ago, according to the trader, the hoodlums attacked a lady and collected all her belongings.
“I sorry for her that day,” Mrs. Funke said in pidgin English.
“The attack (was) around eight for night. As she walk pass that place, they collect her bag and phone.
“I don see many people those thieves attack. This place no good for night. I no know any of them. That place is dark for night.”
During a recent visit to the railway terminals, the occupants had fixed mosquito nets and curtains at their respective sleeping corners, while clothes were littered all over the floor.
Occupants used stones and similar objects to carve out their spaces.
“That is a sign of a failed system,” said Oluwaseun Oloruntoberu, a banker.
“Apparently, these people are homeless, sick and rejected. If the system is right, these people should have been taken off the streets. Government should look inwardly at issues like these.
“On the hoodlums, if they had jobs would they be here to attack anybody. So our problem is the corrupt system.”
A site supervisor for CCECC when approached said it was not their responsibility to chase away the hoodlums and other occupants of the railway terminal.
“Our job is to fix the project,” said the supervisor who identified himself as Mr. Joseph.
“Getting protected from these people is government’s responsibility. I believe, after completion of the construction, their activities here will be over.”
When contacted, Chike Oti, the Lagos State Police Spokesperson, said they are not aware of the situation.
“Nobody has come to complain about the situation. But I will mobilise my men and storm these areas. Thanks for the information.”