Lagos Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has ordered the immediate closure of Climax Bonded Terminal in Ajegunle and other adjoining areas, saying their operation was illegal and causing untold hardship to residents in the area.
Ambode who was speaking shortly after an on-the-spot assessment in the area on Thursday expressed sadness over the situation in the area and directed that the trucks parked around the terminal be evacuated within the next 24 hours.
According to him, the decision to shut down the facility was borne out of the need to protect residents from imminent danger which such building portends and forms the primary responsibility of the Government in protecting lives and property, adding that no record from the State Government authorised the operators of the terminal to convert the property for such purpose.
“You people are causing me a lot of havoc. So, as far as the Lagos State Government is concerned, Ajegunle remains a residential area. I have crosschecked from all the ministries and officials, there is no approval from the Physical Planning for you to use this neighbourhood which is residential as a bonded terminal and I understand that you are extending to Awodiora.
“I don’t want to do too much problem with your owner, but whoever is the owner would have to come to the Ministry of Physical Planning.
“I have the duty to protect all the citizens of Lagos State, I will not allow anything you have called Bonded Terminal to reside in a residential area and I need to protect my people,” Governor Ambode said.
He further warned that the State Government would not fold its arms and allow flagrant abuse of its building laws to the detriment and safety of residents.
On the issue of the trucks, the governor stated that the presence of trucks parked on the single lane road at the Ajegunle axis was subjecting residents to long hours in traffic and other attendant menaces to the environment.
“It’s bad enough that the roads here are single lanes and I have gone round the whole Ajegunle axis, I have seen all the trucks all over the place.
“I will take over all the places called bonded terminals in Ajegunle from this moment, I will shut this place down and all the agencies concerned should take my instructions, I do not want to ever see this place opened again including all the other places that they have put the terminals and other places they have procured, I would not authorize any place that is residential as a Bonded Terminal.
“Tell the Commissioner of Police, tell others, every person here must evacuate in the next 30 minutes and in all the other locations that they have put in place, they remain under lock and key until I say otherwise.
“Including Customs, including everybody, tell the CP and the Naval people, I don’t ever want to see it open again. All the trucks that I have seen across this axis, in the next 24 hours, I don’t want to ever see it here again and all the other places they have placed them, tell the Government Monitoring Unit and the Director DSS, I don’t want to see anybody here again.
“Whatever it is that they have put here, I would only open it when they are willing to take all these trucks away from here and that’s my instruction,” Governor Ambode said.
While stressing that the situation had become a national emergency requiring all levels of government to work together to save the economy of the nation, he expressed commitment to cooperate with the Federal Government and every other stakeholder in solving the issue permanently and carrying out whatever is assigned to the state as part of resolutions to resolve the crisis.
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Journalist, Political Analyst and Satirist with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.