Apongbon Inferno: Sanwo-Olu Declares Zero Tolerance for Trading Under Bridges
The Lagos State Government says it will soon start clearing the portion of Apongbon, affected by fire last Wednesday, to ensure free flow of traffic
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu who made this known during an on the spot assessment of the damage done by the inferno which reportedly destroyed goods worth millions of naira, said trading would no longer be tolerated under bridges in the State.
Reiterating the ultimatum issued by the Federal Ministry of Works that the trader should leave the place within seven days, Governor Sanwo-Olu, however announced that he would be meeting with representatives of the traders and the local governments to find alternative trading posts for them.
“We’re going to clear everyone it is not acceptable. The implications of it is far reaching. it is the monitoring and policing that all of us have to do. That’s why we’re appealing to ourselves, but to go back and continue to live the life in which we have seen, it will make us completely irresponsible and I’m sure you all share in those concerns. We cannot just allow all of that to happen. They are completely illegal. And there are things that we should not have, around us and in a big city like this it’s not acceptable” the Governor stated.
The Governor who pointed out that there has been about 9 fire incidents in the last two years under different bridges across the State, also visited Obalende to inspect the level of commercial activities under the Bridge there.
As at the time of filing in this report, the cause of the fire incident under the Apongbon bridge is yet to be ascertained.
A section of the bridge which has already been cordoned off was slightly lifted by the impact of the fire, while the residual odour of fire can still be perceived five days after the incident.
Meanwhile, traders at the affected section of the Apongbon market engulfed by fire have again appealed to the relevant authorities not to displace them.
Shortly after the inferno on the 23rd of this month, (last week Wednesday), the Federal Ministry of works had issued a seven day ultimatum for all those trading under the bridge to vacate
Speaking on behalf of the placard carrying traders, the Iyaloja of Aranmoleti eso market, Lagos Island, Chief Mrs Rukayat Balogun who said about five different markets, comprising over twenty thousand traders, are co-sited in the affected section said they have been contributing their quota to the economic development of Lagos as responsible citizens.
“We’ve been here over fifty years, nobody is happy to be under the bridge, but because of the cost of shops and shopping malls, it is not as if we are happy that this happened, but we are just pleading, begging the federal government, State and Local government to please have mercy on us.
Chief Balogun who said they pay twenty thousand naira per month for a stall under the bridge in addition to the payment of different revenues each day, stated that the different banks who lent them money to trade have been on their neck to pay back.
She also promised that they would put the necessary measures in place to prevent a reoccurrence if allowed to continue their businesses