Mixed reactions on reopening of Osborne-Ikoyi Link Bridge, Lekki Toll – Articles – The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

The decision to relaunch the toll for the Lekki Toll and the Osborne-Ikoyi Link Bridge continued to receive mixed reactions.

Toll stations were destroyed during the #endsars protests in 2020, toll collection was then halted until recently when the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) announced that toll collection from motorists would resume on April 1, 2022 .

Some of the concerns border on fears of a slow traffic return and lethargy in toll payments after several months of free services.

Responding to the call, Lagos lawyer and Body of Benchers member Chief Kunle Uthman in his letter to Governor Sanwo-Olu said the government should put the welfare of people above monetary considerations. “As it is, life in this axis is hellish in terms of day-to-day pain, in terms of traveling or moving from place to place.”

The letter reads in part: “The LCC has expressed its decision to resume toll collection from motorists using the Osborne/Ikoyi Link Bridge from next month. According to the LCC spokesperson, this decision was taken after consultation with the Lagos State government and its officials.

He acknowledged that the suspension of the toll on the bridge was the result of the #EndSARS protests in Lekki, in particular, during the liquidation days, the two toll booths operated by LCC were destroyed.

He added that recently, on the first anniversary of #EndSARS, the state government, in reaction to public outcry, reversed its earlier decision to resume toll collection.

“Now a private company, LCC, has set a date to resume toll collection and flyers are being distributed to commuters announcing the date of April 1 (April Fool’s Day). There is no doubt that the government, in its relationship between citizens and residents of Lekki in Epe, had become callous and insensitive to the pains and tribulations of people, whether they are vehicle owners or commuters in public transport. What is the crime of these citizens who pay taxes in government and receive few or no benefits?

“As it is, life on axis is hellish in terms of day-to-day pain, especially when it comes to traveling or moving from one end to the other,” he said. he declares.

He said that although many Lagos State government officials, including state high court judges and bureaucrats, reside in this axis, they have apparently maintained a “graveyard silence”.

“As such, the Lagos State Government and its proxy agency LCC should be more sensitive than prioritizing money over the welfare of citizens.

“The decision to resume the toll on the bridge is a sad testament to the fact that our elected leaders are wicked, satanic, callous and negligent, if at all, for the welfare of the citizens of Lagos State.

“Please ask LCC to be innovative in other areas or give them some of the Alpha-Beta largesse. Resuming the collection of tolls anywhere on Lagos roads will lead to anger, and the government may not be able to contain the resulting consequences.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has announced its intention to take over the collection of fees at the Lekki toll, saying that LCC has debts worth billions of naira to pay to local lenders and investors and strangers.

LCC owes local lenders around N11.6 billion and $31.1 million to foreign lenders, Information Commissioner Gbenga Omotoso has revealed.

The toll began operations in 2011, with LCC charging users of the Lekki-Epe expressway a toll despite resistance and protests from residents.

However, the residents of the estates around Lekki, under the aegis of the Lekki Estates Residents and Stakeholders Association (LERSA), had given the Lagos State Government and the LCC certain conditions for the reopening of the toll.

These were contained in a statement issued on Sunday by the association, including more than 80 domains and communities.

In the statement signed by Olorogun James Emadoye and Gbemi Adelekan, President and General Secretary of LERSA respectively, the residents urged the state government and road managers to provide viable alternative routes to toll roads, implement place rounding fees at the toll and immediately improve the technology of the toll system to ensure free movement at the toll booths before the resumption.

LERSA observed that its members had been victims of insecurity and traffic disruption since the #ENDSARS protests in October 2020 which led to the destruction and eventual closure of the toll and Saturday’s protest against the order for its reopening.

While calling for restraint among angry young people, LERSA called on the government to tolerate the free expression of discontent in a way that ensures lives and property are protected.

The association also called on LCC to create an enabling environment for people and businesses on the axis, adding that the experience of road users at toll booths before the closure was very unpleasant.

“Our road experience before the tolls closed on October 20 was one of hardship and suffering, with the long traffic at the toll booths. A toll road is supposed to provide a fast, safe and drivable experience, where users will be happy to pay,” the statement read.

He added that the government, through the LCC, should realize that the toll booths would not be able to reopen and operate as they were before the shutdown.

“Without a doubt, we are the only Nigerian citizens to have to pay a toll on a road of less than 25 km, completed in 14 years. With the bad experience and services at the toll station, we are actually paying for the inconvenience rather than the convenience as we spend an average of 20-30 minutes paying.

“We therefore call for viable alternative routes to toll roads, the introduction of rounded toll charges and an immediate improvement in toll system technology to ensure free movement at tolls before tolling begins,” the statement added. .

Harry D. Gonzalez