Lagos being one of the largest economies in Africa and known to be center of excellence should always espouse policies that would be enduring and sustainable. Against this backdrop is the news making the rounds regarding the purchase by Lagos state govt of some trains from the city of Milwaukee in the state of Wisconsin, USA. This city, with an estimated population of 575,580 people had rejected these same set of trains for their rail system eleven years ago due to apparent structural and operational deficiency. In effect, the trains could not be put to use and were moribund. It is therefore surprising and embarrassing that these rejected trains have become the latest items of ‘celebration’ by our dear state. This leaves so much desired of the expectation from a state government that is expected to be forward looking with policies that will resonate with the standard in the 21st century. It can easily be surmised that the trains have become another huge conduit for fiscal recklessness by the govt of lagos state.

This deal was proposed to the Lagos State government during the BRF administration after an opaque agreement between one Dr Olowolafe and their international counterpart. However, the deal never saw the light then as a result of the vigilance and vociferous voices of the masses who spoke in clear terms that the good people of our dear state deserve much better.

The Babajide Sanwolu administration has concluded arrangement to visit and close the same old deal that has just been renegotiated this week. It is therefore safe to treat this misadventure as another scam that will eventually add to the hardship being faced by our people.


The pertinent question at lips of Lagosians is what good or policy has the current Lagos State government brought to the table to benefit the ordinary people?

In the same vein, the following thought provoking questions and comments will suffice

1. Since it’s now open knowledge that the godfather that brought Sanwolu is set to contest for the presidency, what will be our faith if he eventually comes to power?

2. What has been bought is a High-Speed Train for medium to long haul services (Milwaukee to Madississon -128km) with very limited stops, not Urban Rail/City service like Red line with about 6-stops over 37km; so there’s lots of reconfiguration to be done. Where and how will this happen?

3. The engine is optimised for high speed, not slow speed required for Urban passenger services, hence d Train would operate below capacity hence more maintenance spending…who bears the cost and brunt?

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4. We re not sure this is not Electric Engine, (EMU), the Redline operate on the Chinese line where you currently have Diesel Engine (DMU). So there is likely to be lot of clash due to electrification requirements, etc.

5. If it’s diesel DMU, why are Americans still selling Diesel Engine when everyone already agreed the whole world is going electric due to climate change and several countries have announced exit times from fossil fuel cars and Train; undoubtedly, the sellers would not be able to maintain these train in few years due to climate change restrictions.

6. A very big issue is whether this train is actually designed for Sub-Saharah Africa climatic condition in terms of hot weather, etc. These are trains of 20-30yrs lifecycle and are usually optimised to detailed climatic condition.

Therefore from the forgoing, it appears the Lagos State govt in a hurried bid to score cheap points especially as our election period approaches did not carry out due diligence and has embarrassingly turned our state and country to a dumping ground for items that the world will no longer use.

It’s time for our people to understand the narrative and not allow this open assault to our commonwealth and heritage for the sake of generations to come.

Lastly, we enjoin the United States Embassy to intervene and double check these facts in order to help forestall the impending disaster in Lagos.

Akeem Adeleke

Public Affairs analyst

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