The Federal Government has issued a seven-day ultimatum to everyone doing business under Lagos bridges.
The eviction notice takes effect immediately and they are all to vacate before March 31 or face forceful eviction.
This was made known by Oluropo Oyetade, Director of Highways, Bridges and Design, in the Federal Ministry of Works during an emergency meeting between the Federal Ministry of Works and Lagos Government officials.
The meeting was called at the instance of the Federal Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola with a view to reviewing the Apongbon bridge fire which occurred on Wednesday.
Oyetade who represented the minister of works, 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.
In his statement he said: “I was 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,”
“The inspection of the defects caused by this inferno shall be taken immediately the place cools down.”
He further stated that he had been directed to inform 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.”
Oyetade affirmed that “They shall be forcefully evicted. Not only that, they will be made to pay for any items we have to remove”
The director said all federal controllers of works have been directed to clear encroachers on all bridges nationwide.
He lamented the damage to the bridge, describing it as an avoidable incident.
He further added that the government cannot allow the “irresponsible attitude” of Nigerians to damage such infrastructure built with huge resources.
He however added that a contract was already on for the rehabilitation of the Apongbon bridge before the recent fire incident.
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.
In a related development, the Lagos State Government has indefinitely shut the Eko Bridge.
In a statement, the Lagos government said the bridge will remain closed pending the conclusion of the integrity test.
The statement reads: “TRAVEL ALERT: Eko Bridge has been shut indefinitely by the Lagos State Government due to a fire outbreak at Apongbon in the early hours of today,”
“Bridge likely to remain closed until an integrity test is conducted. All are advised to factor development into their travel plans and consider security/safety in the selection of alternative routes.”
“Alternative routes include the Ijora/Apapa area, the Leventis/UBA roundabout to connect Marina area, or the Ebute Ero axis to link Inner Marina and Third Mainland Bridge.”