Lagos Traders On Right-Of-Way To Go —Minister

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Business people in Lagos plying their trade on road setbacks have their days numbered as the Federal Government embarks on rehabilitation of highways in the state.

Minister of State for Works, Bashir Yuguda, sounded the note of warning, recently while on an inspection tour of ongoing road rehabilitation projects across the city.

“We as a government have to live up to our responsibilities and people have to be law-abiding. We are going to reclaim and hold on to our right-of-way,” Yuguda vowed while inspecting repair works near the Berger Yard end of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway where fairly-used vehicles are displayed for sale.

Construction firm, Julius Berger, is handling the rehabilitation of a section of the road leading to the Apapa Port area, but the minister blamed the slow pace of the repair works on vehicle dealers operating near the location and obstructing the right-of-way.

“The contractors are trying to clear the right-of-way but they cannot work in some areas because they’ve been taken over by people selling cars and those dumping their heavy equipment there. That is not acceptable!” said Yuguda.

The minister also decried the “abuse of roads” across the city. “You see a new drain is constructed and sooner people begin to dump all sorts of rubbish into it. That is not acceptable,” he said.

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To tackle the headache of the obstruction of right-of-way, the minister said the Federal Ministry of Works was collaborating with the Lagos State government to dialogue with the illegal occupiers to relocate, otherwise government might be forced to consider extreme measures.

“Some people (the traders) have gone to court but we are trying to see how we discuss with them and resolve amicably. We understand people have to do their business but they must do so within the framework of the law,” maintained the minister.

Yuguda, who also visited sites around the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports, said the ministry had already drawn out plans to ease the chronic traffic for which the port area has come to be known.

“We are trying to see how we create dedicated lanes for trucks going into Tin Can Island port and into the tank farms.

“I believe if this is done, we’ll have a relief from all the traffic bottlenecks around Apapa. And we appeal to the people of Lagos and to all Nigerians to be responsible in how they use our roads because it is in our own interest,” the minister said.

—Tokunbo Olajide