By Grace Alegba
The Lagos State government on Saturday began clearing shanties and reclaiming Right of Way (RoW) of the Red Rail project corridor from Agbado, Ogun, to Ebute Metta, Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the enforcement team was led by the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Oluyinka Olumide.
Olumide was accompanied by the Special Adviser, e-GIS and Urban Development, Dr Olajide Babatunde; General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Mr Gbolahan Oki and senior directors of both the agency and ministry.
LASBCA is an agency under the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development.
NAN further reports that the enforcement started from the Lateef Jakande Station, Agbado, on the Lagos-Ogun boundary and continued through Iju to Babatunde Fashola Station, Agege.
All makeshift stalls along rail lines were removed; permanent structures including four new generation churches were partially demolished and other encroachments were removed.
Two new churches under construction were sealed and marked with quit notices while traders hurriedly removed their wares from makeshift stalls as they knocked down.
Members of the demolition team sensitised traders at various locations on the danger of trading on the new train corridor.
They spoke to traders in both English and Yoruba warning of consequences of returning to rail tracks, which included outright arrest and prosecution.
The LASBCA boss, Oki, insisted that the lives of residents of Lagos were “more important than any business,” as such the operation must be seamless.
Oki who supervised the removal of obstructions on the RoW insisted that houses whose fences encroached road setbacks must be removed.
Speaking on the exercise, Olumide said the enforcement would continue along the entire train corridor.
He said the exercise would be sustained to keep the Red Rail Line project corridor safe for all Lagos residents.
Olumide advised traders and other business owners to relocate to the markets, while instructing his team to inspect the corridor every Tuesday and Thursday to apprehend defaulters and charge them to court.
“What we are doing is a clean up of the corridor along the Red Rail Line because the train that is coming is going to be a very fast train.
“It is not advisable for pedestrians to be along the corridor basically for their lives. Life is much more important to the state government. And in that regard we have to clear up all that the corridor.
“We will continue to clean up this corridor from the beginning up till the end along the Red Line.
“People must desist from putting up any structure along this corridor. They just must comply because their lives more important to us.
“Go online and check all rail stations in the world. It is not a place for people to walk, trade or carry out businesses,” he said.
The Red Line Rail project is a 37 kilometre North-South rail route proposed to run from Agbado to Marina, with 13 stations.
The station are: Agbado, Iju, Agege, Ikeja, Murtala Muhammad International Airport, the Domestic Airport, Oshodi, Mushin, Yaba, Ebute Meta, Iddo, Ebute Ero, and Marina. (NAN)
Edited by Salif Atojoko