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Apongbon fire: FG orders traders under Lagos bridges to vacate before March 31

Apongbon fire: FG orders traders under Lagos bridges to vacate before March 31
March 23
23:31 2022

The federal government has issued a seven-day ultimatum to traders doing business under Lagos bridges to vacate before March 31 or face forceful eviction.

Oluropo Oyetade, director of highways, bridges and design, gave the ultimatum during an emergency meeting between the federal ministry of works and Lagos government officials to review the Apongbon bridge fire which occurred on Wednesday.

Speaking on behalf of Babatunde Fashola, minister of works, Oyetade warned that a task force would embark on enforcement of recovery of the right of way (RoW) on all the bridges in Lagos as from March 31.

“I was about to enter a meeting concerning the Third Mainland Bridge before I was hurriedly ordered by the honourable minister to come here to give his directive and mandate that he has given to me, to announce that the area should be cordoned off, which we have done,” he said.

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“The inspection of the defects caused by this inferno shall be taken immediately the place cools down.

“But the most important that I must deliver here is that all the occupants under our bridges, particularly in Lagos, we are giving them seven days to pack away.

“Seven days counting from today, by 31st of March, the task force will swing into action and we will impound all recalcitrant elements that we find under the bridges.

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“They shall be forcefully evicted. Not only that, they will be made to pay for any items we have to remove.

“Let me repeat and make myself clear, all occupants under our bridges — we have over 20 bridges in Lagos — should move before 31st of March.”

The director said all federal controllers of works have been directed to clear encroachers on all bridges nationwide.

He added that a contract was already on for the rehabilitation of the Apongbon bridge before the recent fire incident.

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He described the damage to the bridge as an avoidable incident, adding that the government cannot allow the “irresponsible attitude” of Nigerians to damage such infrastructure built with huge resources.

He also condemned the activities of illegal sand dredgers under the Third Mainland Bridge.

Oyetade said three companies had been arrested in connection with the development and would be prosecuted.

He said the fire outbreak was massive and that traffic architecture is being drawn up between his engineers and the Lagos officials on best diversion options.

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On his part, Frederick Oladeinde, Lagos commissioner for transportation, said his ministry would issue a release on diversion alternatives to the public after consultations.

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