Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday ordered the immediate shutting down of Climax Bonded Terminal in Ajegunle for operating illegally and causing untold hardship to residents of the area.
Ambode, who appeared unhappy by the situation in the area shortly after an on-the-spot assessment, directed that the terminal and other adjoining areas be closed, while the trucks parked around the terminal be evacuated within the 24 hours.
He said there was no record from the State Government showing that the operators of the terminal were authorised to convert the property for such purpose, warning that the State Government would not fold its arms and allow flagrant abuse of its building laws to the detriment and safety of residents.
He said the decision to shut down the facility was in furtherance of the need to protect residents from imminent dangers.
Addressing workers of the bonded terminal, he said, “You guys 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 (Ministry of) Physical Planning for you to use this neighbourhood, which is residential, as a bonded terminal and then 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,” Ambode said.
The governor further stated that the presence of trucks parked on the single lane road in the Ajegunle axis was subjecting residents to long hours in traffic and other attendant menace to the environment.
“It’s bad enough that the roads here are single lanes and then I’ve gone round the whole Ajegunle axis and I’ve seen all the trucks all over the place, so I take over all the places called bonded terminals in Ajegunle from this moment. I 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’ve 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, the Government Monitoring Unit and tell 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,” Ambode said.
Also in his remarks during a meeting with stakeholders attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Ambode said the traffic situation in Apapa had become a national emergency that required all levels of government to work together to save the economy of the nation and also restore the glory of Apapa axis.
“I want to reiterate my commitment to say that whatever it is that is assigned to me as part of the resolutions that Lagos State should do, we are committed to doing it and we would also cooperate with the Federal Government and every other stakeholder to make sure that we have a permanent solution to this Apapa crisis,” he said.