I Lived Under Lagos Bridge For Free – 75-Year-Old Ghanaian

One of the displaced squatters of the 86 apartments under the Dolphin Estate Bridge, Ikoyi, Lagos, Usman Hassan, has spoken about his time in the squalid environment.

Daily Trust reports that the Lagos State Government had on Wednesday blown a cover of the under-bridge apartments where tenants reportedly paid N250,000 annual rent.

The state’s Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, disclosed this in a video post via his X account.

Wahab revealed that the 86 partitioned rooms, sized “10×10 and 12×10”.

He added that the enforcement team of Lagos State’s Ministry of Environment and Water Resources had successfully removed all structures, including a container utilised for various illegal activities, from beneath the Dolphin Estate Bridge.Sharing videos, the commissioner wrote, “18 individuals squatting illegally under the bridge leading from Dolphin Estate were arrested yesterday 30th of April, 2024 by the officials from the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps. A total number of 86 rooms, partitioned into 10×10 and 12×10, and a container used for different illegal activities were discovered under the Dolphin Estate Bridge.

“They have all been removed by the enforcement team of the Lagos State Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.”And twenty four hours later, the government said it discovered another illegal settlement under the Osborne Bridge in the Ikoyi area of the State.One of the displaced squatters, Hassan, a 75-year-old Ghanaian, said he was a teacher at Remo Divisional High School, Ogun State, before relocating to Lagos.

Also known as Baba Baraka, the Ghanaian said he was not around during the ‘attack’ by the Lagos officials and as such, he lost some of his belongings to the onslaught.

Telling a story behind the apartment, he told Daily Trust that “The man who owned the place doesn’t force people, the engineers working in this company (referring to a company around) begged him for their workers to stay nearby and when they need them for work, they’ll enter the place.

“I don’t know exactly how much he collects from them, but personally, he didn’t collect anything from me.“For people paying, whether it’s N250,000 or not, I don’t know.”

He explained that people found a solace in the under-bridge apartments because “town is hard and they could not afford a rent within Lagos.”

Hassan said “You see, conditions are hard for people in the country and not everyone can afford houses in the town.“

I have been in this country since 1981 in Ogun State. I was a teacher at Remo Divisional High School for about 11 years before I came to Lagos.“

No work in town to survive on. This man pitied my condition and gave me space here (under the bridge). So, when this thing happened, I took my belongings and I am going again.”

Asked what is the hope for the future, he responded “well, everything is in the hand of God. Sleeping under the bridge is dangerous, but the condition of the country made people resort to this.“

“As you are seeing me, I don’t have a dime in my pocket.

”Usena, a 12-year-old girl, from Kogi State, said her elder sister brought her from the village.“

She is paying but I don’t know the amount.“ I don’t really enjoy the place. I want a new house where I can stay with my parents in peace and enjoy ourselves. We had to stay under this bridge with my sister so we could raise money for a new house,” she told our correspondent.

Saheed Yusuf, a farmer, admitted that he paid an initial N40,000 and subsequently N20,000 quarterly to stay in the apartment.

Daily Trust

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