Seventy-four suspected hoodlums have been arrested at the Obalende area of Lagos, as the state government began demolition of illegal structures at the weekend.
The demolition of the shanties and shops around the Obalende flyover, according to government, was to pave way for the free flow of water in drainages and canals.
Chairman of the Lagos State Task Force, SP Olayinka Egbeyemi, said the 48 hours abatement notice served traders/occupiers of illegal structures, shanties and shops by the agency around Obalende flyover expired on July 20, 2017, but the government gave another 48 hours grace for them to remove their wares/belongings before the commencement of the demolition exercise.
Egbeyemi described the activities of traders, mechanics and people living under the flyover as an eyesore, as they dump refuse in the canal and drainages, thereby blocking the free flow of water.
He said the blockage was the cause of flooding on Lagos Island.
On the arrests, he said the suspects included miscreants who smoke and sell illicit drugs under the bridge; they would be screened before being charged to court.
Stressing that the demolition would continue in the next 10 days, the task force chairman advised members of the public, especially traders, to desists from dumping refuse and other items, including used tyres, into canals and drainages.
Sunday Eze, a 70 years old man, who has been living under the Obalende flyover for over 17 years with his family, told Daily Sun: “I am an old man of 70 years of age. 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. I thank the government for giving us another 48 hours grace after the expiration of initial six months abatement notice. I was able to salvage my property before the demolition of my shanty but there is another problem, where do we go from here?”
A trader, Alhaja Bilikisu Adigun, said she had been trading and living under Obalende flyover with her husband for over 23 years.