FG and Lagos plan the dismissal of squatters and merchants under the bridge

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

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

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

The Lagos State officials were led by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and the State Governor’s Special Advisor on Works and Infrastructure, Aramide Adeyoye.

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

He said the imported construction materials to complete the Eko Bridge have been deployed to start urgent repairs on the Apongbon Bridge.

He said: “Efforts to complete Apongbon before Christmas were thwarted by another fire that hit the Ijora Olopa section of the Eko Bridge on November 4.

“The government will not be able to update its plan to complete the Apongbon Bridge because its materials have been deployed on the burned section of the Eko Bridge.

“There will be no Apongbon for Christmas, no matter how hard we try.”

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

He said this was life-threatening, adding that the decision to close the Ijora Olopa section of the Eko Bridge, pending integrity testing, was painful.

Fashola said: “It is to avoid a bloody situation where a fire-weakened bridge would collapse and lead to loss of life.

“The delivery date of the Apongbon Bridge, previously set for December 2022, has been extended to May 2023 due to the emergency repair of the Ijora Olopa span.”

For his part, Hamzat warned that swift action would be taken against all squatters under the Eko Bridge.

This, he said, was due to the hardships his activities had inflicted on travelers as a result of the bridge’s closure.

Lagos State Transport Commissioner Dr. Frederick Oladehinde said state and federal traffic regulatory agencies would collaborate to manage traffic and diversion points.

In addition, Adeyoye said that repairs had been carried out on Herbert Macaulay Way and that it would be one of the routes to divert traffic and relieve gridlock.

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