In an effort to reduce any possible safety hazards to the Lagos Blue Line rail route, the Lagos State Government has served notice of intent to vacate to any unauthorized tenants of places beneath the Ijora Causeway bridge. The state administration also revealed that the improvised stores and shantytowns that have come to define that specific area have to disappear because of security and safety issues.

Since taking office for a second term, Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s ministry of the environment and water resources has made it very evident to everyone that this would not be business as usual. Judging from some of the engagements and activities that the ministry’s men have taken part in, it is becoming increasingly evident on a daily basis that the ministry does indeed mean business. Tokunbo Wahab, the commissioner for the environment and water resources, was given the duty and he almost immediately took off, leaving even his employees gasping for air.

Even beyond the Ijora Causeway bridge, additional unlawful occupants and activities around the state under the bridges need to be looked into because to the present security realities across the nation. It is a recognized fact that some, if not most, of the shanties under the bridges have been known to hide criminals and criminal activity, in addition to the environmental breaches that these illegal occupations entail in the areas of indiscriminate garbage dumping and health concerns.

Remember the 1999 case of renowned cannibal Clifford Orji, who was captured beneath the Toyota bridge connecting Apapa Oshodi Expressway and the international airport to Oshodi and the expressway? Clifford was charged with abduction, selling human body parts, serial murders, and participating in ritualistic behavior. Thirteen years into his confinement at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Clifford finally passed away.

Additionally, there have been multiple instances of articulated container trucks falling off bridges. While some of these incidents may be attributable to the transport company’s negligence or the condition of certain bridges, it is crucial to remember that having people living under such bridges raises the possibility of casualties and complicates rescue efforts in the unfortunate event that such an incident occurs.

The lawless transport union and park operators are the other unauthorized tenants of the areas beneath our bridges. The environment ministry has to investigate their actions, which are frequently ostentatious and disrespectful to the law and other people. It has been reported that the National organization of Road Transport Workers and the Tricycle Operators Association, a sister organization, operate with blatant disrespect for environmental restrictions and establish illegal garages beneath bridges. They often discard their trash carelessly and defecate in the open.

Being a cosmopolitan state and a future megacity, the state needs more green spaces. Rather than being turned into garages, shanties, or slums by unauthorized residents, these places beneath the bridges should be used for these purposes.

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