… Describe the initiative as panacea for transport hurdles
…as govt reiterates commitment to scale up the initiative
No fewer than 6, 000 Nigerians who were largely holidaymakers benefitted from the first trip of the free train service provided by the Government of the State of Osun from Lagos to Osogbo, the State capital, in commemoration of 2021 Eid-el-Kabir.
The beneficiaries, who appeared very excited after they arrived their destinations on Sunday evening, described the free train initiative as most commendable, remarkable and sustainable panacea for transport hurdles, particularly during festive periods.
This is even as the government reassured the people of its commitment to scaling up the initiative in order to make it more attractive and beneficial to the citizens.
Recall that the Administration of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola had successfully sustained the free train service which was introduced over a decade as part of efforts to provide succour for the citizens of the State that live outside Osun during festive periods.
The train had on Sunday morning departed the Ido Terminal of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Lagos State, where about 4,000 passengers boarded after which others joined along the way to Osogbo.
Addressing journalists shortly after their arrival at the Osogbo Terminal of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, some of the beneficiaries lauded the initiative which according to them was targeted at alleviating poverty and eliminating avoidable road mishaps during the festive periods.
Mrs. Morufat Alao and Mr. Olawuyi Abiola who boarded the train from Lagos to Osogbo, commended the hitch- free trip, saying the initiative has once again rekindled their hope in the revitalisation process of rail transportation in the country.
Mrs. Alao expressed satisfaction at the high level of security put in place by the State Government to ensure passengers’ safety.
She said the initiative had become a sustainable household transport means for the citizens, particularly the festive holidaymakers who, out of financial constraints, could not afford transport fares to come home and celebrate with their families and loved ones during the festive periods.
In her words: “I appreciate this noble gesture, the most commendable aspect of this initiative remains the fact that the government is serious about the security and safety of the beneficiaries of the scheme.
“I was amazed to have seen heavy presence of security in and out while boarding the train in Lagos. This is not only impressive but worthy of emulation.
“I can remember vividly how the security operatives were going up and down along the way to ensure that no one misbehaved or better still forestall break down of law and order throughout the trip to Osogbo.
“In fact, my journey to Osogbo was not only adventurous but a memorable one. I wish to experience more of it in the future. Osun Government is doing wonderfully well as far as this initiative is concerned.
“I pray God to continue to be with Osun Government, particularly our Governor who has sustained this for us.”
Similarly, Mr. Olawale Abdul-Maleek, Alhaji Oseni Biyawo, Mr. Oyedele, Abdul-Kodir, Usman Abdul-Azeez and Mrs Rashidat Owolabi lauded the security measures put in place to ensure smooth and rancour-free trip to Osogbo.
They commended the smooth trip to Osogbo, just as they assured of their support for the State and showered encomiums on the Governor for prioritising the masses’ welfare as reflected in the successful implementation of the government’s social intervention programmes.
Speaking, the Commissioner for Commerce, Industry, Cooperatives and Empowerment, Dr. Bode Olaonipekun, said Governor Oyetola was resolute to scale up the initiative in such a way that would be more beneficial to the citizens.
“We thank God for a smooth ride. The train departed Lagos by 10:00am on Sunday and they are here safe and sound. Again, on Monday, the train will take off by 10:00am in Lagos and we will receive them here and the returning will be on 25th of this month.
“Our train service has always been with security arrangement to ensure the safety of the passengers in the face of prevailing crimes such as banditry and kidnapping. Thus, this is not the first time of doing it. We have been doing it in the past. The security measure is adequate and we are sure that to and fro, the security arrangement will still be in tact.
“We enjoin our beneficiaries to always be law abiding and to take to all instructions as given by the security operatives to continue to ensure smooth operations.
“To whom much is given, much is expected. It is on this note I want our people to reciprocate the good that the government is doing by being obedient, compliant with all the rules and adhering to all the security information.
“I want to assure them that this first term of the Oyetola’s Administration is just a tip of the iceberg. More are still coming in his second term as being captured by the Administration’s Development Plan. Therefore, I want them to continue to support his government by paying their taxes as and when due,” Olaonipekun added.