Nigeria: “Lagos Government Launches Manhunt for Suspected Underbridge Landlords Amidst Crackdown on Illegal Settlements”

Nigeria: “Lagos Government Launches Manhunt for Suspected Underbridge Landlords Amidst Crackdown on Illegal Settlements”

By Zuleihat Owuiye, Mamos Nigeria

In the latest development surrounding the issue of underbridge tenants in Lagos, the Lagos State Government has escalated its efforts to bring to justice those suspected of facilitating illegal settlements beneath the bridges, particularly in the Ikoyi area of the state. The Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, revealed this during a ministerial press briefing held at Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, to mark the first year of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Deputy Governor Dr. Obafemi Hamzat’s second term in office.

According to Wahab, the government’s actions are driven by a commitment to safeguard the lives of residents. This renewed vigor includes the enforcement of laws governing the use of pedestrian bridges, with a notable crackdown resulting in the arrest of 1,032 individuals for crossing highways and neglecting to use designated pedestrian crossings. Additionally, 165 miscreants and squatters occupying pedestrian bridges across the state were dislodged and the bridges cleared.

A recent operation under the Dolphin Bridge in Ikoyi uncovered a startling discovery: an illegal housing settlement comprising 80 partitioned rooms and a container utilized for various illicit activities. This operation led to the arrest of 36 individuals residing in these structures, with efforts underway to apprehend the masterminds behind the rental of these underbridge apartments.

This crackdown follows previous instances where similar illegal settlements were uncovered, underscoring the government’s determination to eradicate such encroachments. Notably, tenants paying substantial annual rents were found residing beneath the Dolphin Estate Bridge, prompting swift action from government authorities.

The removal of illegal structures is not limited to residential areas alone; the government is also targeting environmental infractions, particularly the use of styrofoam containers. Since the ban on styrofoam products was announced earlier in the year due to health and environmental concerns, enforcement efforts have resulted in the confiscation of over 900 kg of styrofoam containers for destruction. Moreover, the government’s vigilance extends to identifying and prosecuting environmental offenders, with over 1,000 individuals arrested and prosecuted for various infractions.

Speaking on these developments, the Special Adviser on Environment and Water Resources emphasized the government’s commitment to maintaining a clean and orderly urban environment. The eviction of illegal settlers beneath bridges is part of a broader initiative to rid Lagos of unauthorized structures, ensuring the safety and well-being of all residents.

These concerted efforts by the Lagos State Government reflect a proactive approach to addressing urban challenges and upholding environmental standards, underscoring its commitment to creating a livable and sustainable city for all.

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