The federal ministry of works and housing, on Sunday, demolished illegal structures and shanties on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway right of way (RoW) to enable the contractor handling the reconstruction of the expressway to commence work on the service lane.
To this end, Lagos State Special Taskforce was invited to demolish and clear shanties at Ladipo market, Toyota and Charity bus stop, to allow work on the expressway inward the Oshodi corridor and return sanity to the highway.
“The minister of works visited the place on January 14 this year to address the traders, mechanics and car dealers and told them to move away from our right of way because we want to work on this service lane and do beautification of the right of way,” Olukayode Popoola, the federal controller of works, Lagos, explained.
According to the controller, after the minister’s address, the ministry gave the traders two weeks and served notices to that effect, which expired on 29 January 2021.
Popoola also stated that before the expiration of the notice, he had called a meeting of all the unions in the Ladipo market soliciting their support and, “they all agreed that they will move away.”
He said that after the expiration of the notices given by the ministry and his personal intervention on the issue, the taskforce equally gave the traders notices which expired on February 7,2021.
“Till today, they remain adamant and have refused to remove their vehicles and others, hence the taskforce was invited to clear all the shanties so that we will be able to do our work on the service lane, as well as beautify the right of way.
” We are reclaiming all the right of way along Lagos-Apapa-Oworosoki expressway all the way to Ojota. If they move out on their own, there will be no enforcement; however, if they do not move, we shall enforce. Going forward, if they want to use our right of way, they will apply to the federal ministry of works for approval and only the minister has the power to grant such approval,” the controller said, adding that it would only be for beautification of the right of way and not for mechanics or other business interests.
Some of the traders at the Ladipo market who spoke to BusinessDay said notices were served long before the demolition exercise on Sunday morning. According to the traders, trucks were parked on the road due to the nature of the road and not that they are adamant of moving away or wanted to test government’s resolve.
“We actually park on the road to offload goods from the truck. After offloading, customers come around to take their goods and sometimes it takes two to three days to clear all the goods from a container,” said Martins Obidiozo, manager, Unity Warehouse, Ladipo market, appealing to the government to please allow the traders some time to clear their goods off the expressway.