Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has declared zero tolerance for trading, squatting and illegal activities under bridges in Lagos State.
The governor disclosed this during the reopening of the repaired Apongbon part of Eko Bridge to motorists and commuters in Lagos Island on Saturday.
Decrying the destruction done to the bridge due to the fire outbreak, the governor said the government can no longer fold its arms and let a few people destroy the infrastructure.
He said: “We are using this medium to warn again that there can never be any kind of trading, activities under this bridge or under any other bridges for that matter.
“These are important infrastructure or assets that we cannot fold our arms and let a few people destroy them.
“We have seen the effect of this destruction, it caused the entire city almost a couple of months.”
“So everybody in Ijora Olapan Bridge, Contain Bridge, we are coming and as we have come here, we are going to ensure that it’s zero tolerance. We cannot put markets or any forms of trade under the bridges.
“We have seen the effects of what happened when we leave it and fold our arm.We can no longer fold our arms and see few people destroying our national assets,” the governor said.
He said it becomes a formal warning to the citizens especially users of Apogbon end of Eko Bridge that after extensive repair work that the Federal Ministry of Work has embarked upon in collaboration/support from the Lagos State Government to open the bridge to motorists.
He pointed out that many people would have wanted it earlier than now, but because of the extent of work that has to be done on the bridge due to large destruction on it, the government could not take the risk to have opened the bridge before now.
“It is with great delight that we have done a comprehensive test from the contractor from the federal ministry of work and we believe that this portion of Apongbon bridge will now be free for motorists,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He explained that work on the entire Eko Bridge has not ended as there are still a lot of bearings to be replaced.
This, he said, would necessitate the intermittent closure of the bridge for repair at different sections.
“There are a lot of bearings that still has to be done on the entire bridge, going all the way to alaka. So what the Federal Ministry of Work has done is that in the future, there would be closure; but very few closure not more than a week or two weeks at different sections so that they can jack up the other parts of the bridge and complete the repair,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Earlier, the Federal Controller of Work, Lagos, Mrs Olukorede Keisha, briefed the governor with updates on repair carried out on the bridges and also thanked him for the support and collaborative effort.
Both Apongbon and Eko Bridges were razed by fire caused by human activities in 2022.
Apongbon Bridge was affected by fire in March, 2022 and efforts for its December completion were stalled by another fire that affected the Ijora Olopa section of Eko Bridge on Nov. 4.
The delivery date for Apongbon Bridge was extended to May 2023 because some materials for its repairs were used to start emergency repairs of the Ijora Olopa section.
The Federal Government later set another deadline for July 15 which was reviewed downward to July 9.
The 4.1km Eko Bridge links Lagos Island with the Mainland. It directly links to Apongbon on the Island side.
Eko Bridge has been undergoing phased rehabilitation but a contract for its comprehensive maintenance was awarded in February 2022 and expected to extend to 2026.
On the other hand, the Ijora Olopa section of Marine Bridge damaged by vandals was shut on May 17, 2023 for the safety of the public.
The deck on pile bridge caved in on May 16, 2023 leading to immediate assessment and closure.