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FG, Lagos plan sacking of under-bridge squatters, traders

Under d bridge

The Federal Government and the Lagos State Government will be joining forces to evict traders and squatters under Lagos bridges.

Officials of both governments say the exercise is aimed at saving lives and protecting property.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, and officials of the Lagos State Government briefed journalists on their position plan after inspecting Apongbon and Eko bridges in Lagos on Thursday.

Lagos State officials were led by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and the Special Adviser to the State Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Aramide Adeyoye.

Fashola said efforts to quickly complete initial emergency rehabilitation on the Eko bridge slowed down when Apongbon bridge was affected by fire in March.

He said construction materials imported for the completion of Eko bridge were deployed to begin urgent repairs on the Apongbon bridge.

He said, “Efforts to complete Apongbon before Christmas have been frustrated by another fire that affected the Ijora Olopa section of Eko bridge on November 4.

“The government will not be able to actualise its plan of completing Apongbon Bridge because its materials have been deployed to the burnt section of Eko bridge.

“There will not be Apongbon for Christmas, as much as we tried.”

Fashola decried the hardship faced by road users, stressing that the fire incidents were due to the illegal activities of traders and squatters, which could lead to the collapse of the bridge.

He said this was posing a threat to lives, adding that the decision to shut the Ijora Olopa section of Eko bridge, pending integrity tests, was a painful one.

Fashola said, “It is to avert a gory situation where a bridge weakened by fire would collapse and lead to the loss of lives.

“The delivery date of Apongbon bridge, earlier fixed for December 2022, has been extended to May 2023 because of the emergency repair of the Ijora Olopa section.”

On his part, Hamzat warned that quick action would be taken against all illegal occupants under the Eko bridge.

This, he said, was due to the hardship their activities had inflicted on commuters as a result of the closure of the bridge.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederick Oladehinde, noted that the state and federal traffic regulatory agencies would collaborate towards managing traffic and diversion points.

Also, Adeyoye said repairs had been carried out on Herbert Macaulay Way and would be one of the routes for traffic diversion, to ease gridlock.

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