NEWS

Protest Over Review Of Lekki Toll Fees Tears Groups Apart

Lagos – Residents under the Eti-Osa Development Forum will today,Friday protest  the recent upward review of toll collection rates at both the Admiralty Circle Plaza and Lekki ikoyi link bridge by the Lagos state government.

Dotun  Hassan, covener of the protest,said   ordinary citizens, organizations and  sympathizers  would partake in the exercise which would kick off  at  7am at Lekki phase 1 roundabout.

But another group,Eti-osa/Ibeju Lekki Indigene Coalition and Development  Association ,has called on residents to disregard Dotun’s call for protest,saying he is self -serving and development .

According to Dotun,the  toll review is unjustifiable,arbitrary  and demanded  a revert to the old rates and possible downward review in the light of biting economic realities and what obviously has been recouped by the concessioneer thus far.

He also demanded  a transparent disclosure of all financial dealings, audited report and appropriation relating to the Lekki Concession Company  tolling contracts, and the current status of the Lagos State Government having bought back the Admiralty Tolling Plaza contract in 2013 for N25.3Billion.

‘’We call on His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode to intervene and proffer immediate panacea on the increased excruciating fares, having promised to remove and stop the tolling prior before his election in 2015, yet the issue remains unabated and agonizing.Hence, we demand  adequate welfare instead of draconian  exploitation of the masses’’,he added..

Barrister Omotayo Adeola-Ajayi,Secretary General  of Etis-osa/Ibeju Lekki Indigene Coalition and Development  Association,ina statement said Dotun’s group  is non-existent,irresponsible and its call for the protest should be shunned by residents of  Lekki

He said:’’We are fully aware and recognize the constitutional rights of every citizen to assemble and protest freely in any part of the country but not with pseudo names and fake identity embedded in political undertone, “He who comes to equity must come with clean hands.” There is no forum called Eti-Osa development forum within Eti-Osa local government with known address rather Eti-Osa Development Association.

The planned ‘protest’ is a syndicated demonstration of a man that is desperate for relevance and recognition after he failed, as an aspirant, in his political voyage in PDP, APC and APDA in his attempt to clinch the ticket to represent Eti-Osa constituency 1 in the Lagos State House of Assembly by-election held in September, 2017. It had become obvious to us that he had lost the support of the people he wanted to represent in Eti-Osa local government.

‘’The planned ‘protest’ by Dotun Hassan is a desperate effort by a politically defeated man that is committed  to take a pound of flesh by creating confusion in order to sabotage the peace and tranquility along Lekki/Eti-osa corridor. Dotun Hassan is not part of us but wants to score a cheap political point. We know his antecedence in the area that is why people don’t take him seriously. He crossed-carpeted to APC after he campaigned for PDP in 2015 and left for APDA when he could not win the APC primaries’’.

He said it is encouraging that Lekki Concession Company (LCC) carried Eti-Osa/Ibeju-Lekki Indigene Coalition and other groups along as one of the criticall stakeholders during the engagement process for the toll review which resulted in the minimal increase in toll charged.

According to him,many of the engaged stakeholders, including traditional rulers and community leaders, residents’ associations and youth groups, Eti-Osa Local Government officials, members of the media as well as members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers in Eti-Osa Local Government Area consented to the new decision.

He also said  that the  stakeholders agreed that there was a need for constant upgrade of road facilities, as the Eti-Osa/Lekki-Epe corridor was rapidly becoming an international economic hub for investors.

‘’Above all, members and residents of Eti-Osa local government, the public, parents and guardians, religious/opinion leaders and other interest groups are strongly advised to prevail on their children /wards and followers not to allow themselves to be used for political considerations and interests to cause disturbance of public peace and break down of law and order in Eti-Osa local government and its environs’’,he added.

Meanwhile,the Lagos Elders Council has appealed to the Lagos State Government and Lekki Concession Company Limited not to increase fees on Lekki Toll Gate in the overall interest of motorists and commuters plying the Epe-Lagos Express Road.

INDEPENDENT reports that motorists and commuters in the Eti-Osa Area of the State were held up on Thursday in a traffic jam, lasting hours as residents protested and refused to pay the new toll fees, imposed on the road users and causing traffic gridlock that spread to many parts of Lagos Island.

According a new fee introduced by the concession company, which took effect on Thursday February 1, 2018, motorists and commuters will henceforth pay an increment of about 70 percent fees. Drivers and vehicle owners are to pay N200 instead of N120. Cars and tricycles using the Ikoyi Link Bridge are to pay N300 instead of N250. Special utility verticals are to pay N250 at the Admiralty Toll plaza of Lekki-Epe Expressway instead of N150 et cetera.

In a statement in Lagos yesterday and signed by the General Secretary of the Lagos Elders Council, Chief Sunbo Onitiri, the Elder citizens advised the state government and the concession company to reconsider their decision about the increased fees.

It  noted that thousands of residents living along Lagos-Epe Expressway axis ply the road to their various places of work would be carrying extra burden in the face of the taunting economic problem staring them and for which no solution is in sight.

‘’It is the earnest belief of the Elders that by now, the concession company would have recouped and recovered their financial investment, and any other money would be their gains’’,it added.

Meanwhile, the council has drawn the attention of the Lagos State Government to the heavy trucks parked on 2nd mainland bridge which it described as a grave concern to the Logisians.

The government it said, should urgently find a parking space for the trucks before the bridge collapses. The government should also look into areas of youth empowerment programmes to stem youth restiveness due to unemployment.

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