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Lagos task force arrests 74, demolishes illegal structures

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The ongoing demolition

No fewer than 74 suspected hoodlums have been arrested at the Obalende bridge, Lagos, as the state government task force commenced demolition of illegal structures and shanties in the area.

The demolition of the shanties and containerized shops around Obalende fly-over, according to the government, was to pave the way for the free flow of water in the drainages and canals.

A 70-year-old man, Mr. Sunday Eze, said he has been staying under the fly-over for over 17 years with his family. “I am an old man of 70 years. I have been living with my wife and three children under this bridge since I left Abia State 17 years ago. I don’t have any relatives around Lagos. The 48 hours notice enabled me to salvage my property before the demolition of my shanty, but where do we go from here?” he asked.

Another trader, Alhaja Bilikisu Adigun, said she has been trading and living inside a containerised shop under the fly-over with her husband for over 23 years.

Mr. Akintunde Folami, however, commended Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for demolishing the structures. He said: “Hoodlums used to terrorise innocent citizens around the area by dispossessing them of their valuables such as phones and wallets. They used to attack people in the early hours of the morning and at night.”

Chairman of the Lagos State Task Force, Olayinka Egbeyemi, a Superintendent of Police (SP), disclosed that the 48 hours ‘Abatement Notice’ served on traders and occupiers of illegal structures, shanties and containariszd shops by the agency around Obalende fly-over expired on Thursday, July 20, but the government gave another 48 hours grace for them to remove their wares and belongings before the commencement of the exercise.

He described the activities of traders, auto-mechanics and people living under the fly-over as an eye-sore as they frequently dump refuse into the canal and drainage, thereby blocking the free flow of water, which according to him, was the cause of the serious flooding experienced on the Island.

He added that 74 persons believed to be hoodlums were arrested during the demolition. Among those arrested included miscreants who smoke and sell illicit drugs under the bridge. He noted that the suspects would be screened before they would be charged to court.

“No responsible and responsive government would tolerate illegality of people causing hardship for innocent members of the public.”

Egbeyemi said over 120 illegal structures, shanties and containerised shops have so far been demolished while 20 abandoned vehicles were recovered by the agency, adding that the exercise would be sustained in the next 10 days.

He, however, advised members of the public, especially traders, to desist from dumping refuse and other metals, including used tyres into canals and drainages.



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