LAGOS - Under-bridge squatters, recently evicted from the Costain area of Lagos metropolis, have expressed their grievances over the loss of their shelter and livelihood.
Speaking with newsmen, one of the evictees, who gave her name as Miss. Biodun Olashina, said she was selling wares under the bridge before she was sent packing.
She said: “Since the Lagos State Government forcefully evicted us from the under-bridge, my means of livelihood had been forcefully taken away.
“I believe the Fashola’s administration is insensitive; look at me, I have younger ones that depend on me and maybe the only option left for me now is prostitution.
“We were only given seven days notice before members of the task force came to evict us forcefully; now I sleep in a mosque,” Sule Adamu, who claimed to have been living under the bridge in the past five years, told newsmen.
Mr. Samuel Adeyemi, a shop owner, close to the bridge, said the eviction of squatters who had been there for more than 15 years was grossly unfair.
“That government will evict these people without any plan to relocate or resettle them is unfair.
“The Lagos State Government has not only taken away their shelter, but also their means of survival and self-esteem.
“These people are only trying to get by, on a daily basis; now they have no hope of survival.
“Why should they be sacrificed for the beautification programme of government?“ he wondered.
Another shop owner, who gave her name as Idayat, said all the evacuees were still loafing around the neighbourhood and she did not feel safe anymore.
“Just look around you, all the young men you see sitting down used to have one trade or the other to ply under the bridge; but you see their means of livelihood has been taken away.
“Very soon, these young men will turn to miscreants and be snatching bags from people.
“The other day, a thief was caught here trying to steal from us and when he was asked to make a statement at the police station, he said he was freshly out of job because of the evictions and that because he was hungry, he tried to steal,” she said.
“I have been forced to go and borrow money from friends to enable my two brothers and I to move into a one-room apartment.
“I liked the proximity to my shop which the under bridge afforded me,” Joseph Ugochukwu, who claimed to be selling phones and accessories told newsmen.
Lagos State Gov. Babatunde Fashola on April 29 began a fresh campaign to restore law and order in the state.
He issued quit notices to all the squatters under the bridges in Lagos, as well as tanker drivers and drivers of other articulated vehicles who allegedly parked indiscriminately on roads in the state.