Almost every part of Lagos have been converted into a marketplace. On roadsides, ontop of pedestrian bridges, inside Molues, in traffic, etc., everywhere is a market.
This unregulated commercialization of every spot in Lagos is what gives Lagos its rowdy outlook.
Indeed, this is what prompted the Lagos state government to establish several task forces with the objective of riding the state of trading at these unusual spots.
However, there is a location that besides being illegal, it also poses an enormous risk to the traders who ply their trades there. It is on railway tracks.
It common for railway tracks, especially in the Lagos area, to have convergences of traders selling all manner of goods. These locations are typically Mecca of some sort for those in search of “Okrika” clothes and other used and substandard wares to buy.
Every day, traders and their customers turn these locations to huge markets.
Tragically, this unusual and very risky trading practice has led to the death of some people, especially those who were not quick enough to depart the scene for an oncoming train.
In addition, train trips that has been scheduled to arrive at its destinations at a particular time are sometimes disrupted or delayed because it would be halted for longer than necessary for these traders to clear their wares from the track before it would continue its journey.
Sometimes, some people at these railway marketplaces have made fatal judgements forgetting that trains are not as controllable as cars that can be stopped at will.
Interestingly, during the administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola, there was a ban on trading on railway tracks. This ban was vigorously enforced at the time. However, the enforcement of that ban appears to have been relaxed in the current administration.
It gets even more curious, when one discovered that certain task forces are deployed to some of these locations to collect revenues from the illegal traders at these railway track marketplaces.
Perhaps, this is the reason why this high-risk illegality persists on our railway tracks.