10th May, 2012
The Lagos State Government has said it recovered guns and ammunition under the Ijora-Marine Bridge, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, during the ongoing demolition of shanties and clearing of the entire area by its joint taskforce.
It also said illegal immigrants from neighbouring countries were dislodged from the cleared site.
Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, said the weapons were recovered by the joint taskforce comprising security personnel and state agencies, though no arrest was made in connection with the weapons.
Weapons recovered include guns, ammunition, daggers, axes and cutlasses among others, which he said, were used to terrorise innocent residents.
He disclosed that the items were recovered from shanties and illegal structures built under the bridge during the operation aimed at restoring law and order, while lamenting the state of insecurity posed by indiscriminate parking of articulated vehicles and illegal structures.
Bello, who spoke during an inspection tour and unveiling of the “Regeneration Programme of Apapa Area, said the recovered weapons would be handed over to the relevant authorities for further investigation and action.
According to the commissioner, “most of the occupants inhabiting under the bridge were illegal immigrants who are from Nigeria’s neighbouring countries” such as Chad and Niger among others and from the northern parts of the country.
The clearing of the area, which commenced on Monday, was sequel to Governor Babatunde Fashola’s directive to rid the area of all tankers, trucks and other vehicles that were parked indiscriminately in the Apapa area, which had been a major cause of traffic gridlock and hardship to motorists and commuters.
The commissioner noted that the area, apart from constituting environmental nuisance also served as hideout for hardened criminals, adding that the government decided to move in to dislodge the illegal occupants under the bridge.
“A good number of businesses have closed down in this axis purely because of the situation of Apapa. With this, no investor will be interested to come to the country,” he said, while expressing displeasure at the high level of environmental degradation and nuisance which those living under the bridge illegally had caused in the area.
—Kazeem Ugbodaga &Jamiu Yisa