Thick smoke as another fire at Olusosun dumpsite envelopes Ojota
Police take over motor-park, arrest 80, recover toy gun from site
One month after the fire incident at the Olusosun dumpsite in Ojota, Lagos State, another fire broke out at the dumpsite yesterday affecting some vehicles and property in the area. The fresh inferno has left residents in deep panic.
Thick, dark smoke smoldered out of the dumpsite, enveloping the Ojota axis while residents around Ojota motor parks, Oregun, Motorway/7UP communities, among others, scampered to safety.
The smoke was oozing out from different burning sections of the dumpsite enveloping the atmosphere, spreading across to the DayStar Church, Motorway Building, 7UP/ Mobolaji Johnson road, Billing way, among other adjoining areas.
Eyewitnesses at the scene told newsmen that the scavengers had long deserted the site and there was no activity to have prompted the fire incident.
“The dumpsite had been causing serious controversy. The state government had long took over the site and was under maintenance by LAWMA. However, these fire outbreaks are becoming rampant and injurious to our health. I can assure you that the Lagos State government cannot claim innocence in this incident. They are using style to push people away and possibly convert the place to something more useful. But they should be civil in doing that. Putting peoples’ lives at risk because of your selfish motive is just too bad,” an eyewitness said.
Residents, workers of firms in the area, tradesmen, artisans, mechanical engineers, commercial motorbike riders and bus drivers, among others were seen gathering in groups outside their buildings.
Sometime last month, the dumpsite was on fire for days with fears among residents that it would have negative health implication. As a result of the fire, the governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, visited the dumpsite twice ordering that the dumpsite be closed for use on his second visit and all those living and working within the place should vacate.
The situation yesterday also led to a massive gridlock along the usually busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Tollgate, Seven-Up and adjoining areas.
Although the cause of the inferno is yet to be ascertained, it was gathered that the rescue officers attached to the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and Lagos State Fire were battling to put out the fire as at press time.
Meanwhile, a combined team of policemen yesterday took over the motor-park at Olososun and ensured that no operation took place at the park. The Guardian could count about 15 patrol vehicles belonging to the Nigeria Police and two others belonging to the state’s task force, with several officers keeping vigil at the park, which gates have since been locked.
The development led to operators of the park, including drivers, stranded, while few of the inter-state vehicles were seeing loading at the filling station near the park.
A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the police moved to the park this morning to enforce the vacation order issued by the state government as the park operators had continued to refuse the order to vacate the premises.
However, the Lagos State police command have arrested over 80 miscreants, recovered a toy gun, six butchers’ knives, 21 kitchen knives, nine hammers, substances suspected to be cannabis and other dangerous weapons from the Olusosun dumpsite squatters.
The police team, comprising of officers drawn from Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Lagos State Taskforce, Counter Terrorism Unit, Alausa Police Station and other police formations, stormed the dumpsite yesterday to eject the squatters who had already built shades, where they dwell.
Police sources said the miscreants in a bid to resist arrest, set fire on the dump to discard the operatives from carrying out the clearing of the site as directed by the state government but couldn’t do much before they were arrested.