Lagos governor speaks out on children’s bridge deaths

• ‘We will not be distracted from resolving that issue,’ says Rauf Aregbesola • Government says images captured by ‘trophy’ photographers will be deleted

The governor of Nigeria’s Lagos state, Rauf Aregbesola, has responded to a damning report on the Olujimi community toll bridge, saying there was still a chance for reconciliation.

The report concluded that children who were killed by windsurfers while crossing the bridge were victims of unlawful killings. A warrant could be issued to arrest the bridge’s contractor.

The government said pictures taken by “trophy” photographers on the day the children were killed would be deleted. “We want to call on these aerial photographers, who have been to the scene and have taken photographs … to delete these photographs.”

The Eko bridge toll gate in Lagos. Photograph: Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

On Friday, the governor said more talks were taking place, without giving details. “There is still the option of reconciliation,” he said in a statement on Sunday. “It would only be through that reconciliation that the people who have been branded as ‘criminals’ and the governor who is being branded as a ‘bandit’ will lead their lives with no pains or suffering. There will be no vengeance in this matter. We are moving ahead in doing this. We will not be distracted from resolving that issue.”

A section of the bridge has been taken over by sand-cutting machines as officials allegedly strip access to neighbouring villages.

The report comes amid growing violence and even military intervention in the oil-rich Niger delta, which is ruled by separatist militias demanding a greater share of government revenue.

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