Beggars, hoodlums take over Pen Cinema Bridge two months after completion

Beggars, hoodlums take over Pen Cinema Bridge two months after completion

The newly commissioned Pen Cinema Bridge has been converted to a haven for homeless people, beggars and hoodlums, who allegedly fleece commuters and motorists of their valuables.

The development is coming two months after Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu inaugurated the facility to ease mobility of road users and members of the public.

The bridge has become a refuge for thugs and people without homes who are always seen hanging around the bridge.

Motorists, traders and residents in the area have also lamented the growing insecurity occasioned by the activities of the hoodlums around the bridge, which has also been polluted by waste.

A commercial bus driver, Shola Oye, corroborated the report, saying many people live and pass the night under the Pen Cinema Bridge.

"A lot of people have made under the bridge their abode. Even the National Union of Road Transport Workers constantly forces them out of the place, because of how they litter the place.

"Sometimes, the NURTW officials pay street sweepers from the union's purse to clean up the place to avoid being blamed by the government.

"Most of those living there prefer to sleep at the end of the bridge facing the rail line to avoid being easily spotted. The union members sometimes come on Thursdays to chase beggars and those loitering around the bridge."

The PUNCH quoted a one of the residents close to the bridge, Rokeeb Oladimeji, as saying that he migrated from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to Lagos in search of greener pasture but had remained homeless since he got to the state.

"I am from Osun State, but I came from Port Harcourt to Lagos after I encountered some challenges. I arrived here recently with no place to go. I am currently working as a labourer at a building site to make enough money to rent an apartment. I couldn't go to work today (Tuesday) because of the injury I sustained yesterday (Monday).

"Residing here, everyone must get up early to have their baths in a public toilet, where we pay. We also have various places where we keep our clothes. I can't wait to return to Port Harcourt when I make enough money."

When contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi disclosed that there is always police presence in Pen Cinema to protect citizens.

"All the stations that were burnt during the violent #EndSARS protest are now functional. We have our men in the area as makeshift structures and vehicles have been provided for them to operate.

"In addition, there has been no increase in the crime rate in Pen Cinema or Agege in general. We don't have such a record with us at the command. It is just mere psychological projection," he said.

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