Lagos lawyer, and member, Body of Benchers, Chief Kunle Uthman on Wednesday called on Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu to rescind the decision to reintroduce tolling on the Osborne-Ikoyi link bridge, saying that the decision is anti-people.
Osborne-Ikoyi link bridge is the alternative to the Lekki-Epe Expressway that passes through Osborne Road, Ikoyi and comes out at the Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1. The toll gate on the bridge was destroyed during the #endsars protests in 2020. Toll collection was subsequently stopped until recently when Lekki Concession Company(LCC) announced that collection of toll from motorists will commence on April 1, 2022.
Reacting to this call, Chief Uthman in his letter to governor Sanwo-Olu said that the government should place the welfare of the people over and above monetary considerations. “As it is, life in this axis is hellish in terms of the pains experienced day-by-day, as it relates to movement or commuting from one place to another”.
The letter reads: “The Lekki Concession Company (LCC) has expressed its decision, well publicized, to resume collection of Toll from motorists who make use of the Osborne / Ikoyi link bridge from next month. According to the spokesman of LCC, this decision was taken after due consultation with the Lagos State Government and its officials;
It is relevant to state for the records that the suspension of toll collection on this bridge was as a result of the #EndSARS protests in Lekki, in particular, during which winding up days the 2 Toll Plazas operated by LCC were destroyed. Quite recently, during the one year anniversary of the #EndSARS, the LASG in reaction to public outcry, rescinded its earlier decision to resume, through its agent (LCC) Toll Collection;
Now, a private company, LCC has set a date to resume Toll Collection and there are handbills being distributed to commuters announcing the date as 1st April (April Fool’s Day). It is indisputable that the Lagos government in its relationship between citizens and residents of Lekki to Epe had become callous and insensitive to the pains and tribulations of these people, whether vehicle owners or commuters in public transportation. What is the crime of these citizens who pay tax to the government and receive little or no benefits?;
As it is, life in the axis is hellish in terms of the pains experienced day-by-day, especially as it relates to movement or commuting from one end to another;
The glaring fact is that many of the officials of the Lagos State Government, including Judges of the state high courts and bureaucrats reside in this axis, but apparently maintain a “silence of the graveyard”. As such, the Lagos State Government and its proxy agency LCC ought to be more sensitive than to give money priority over the welfare of citizens.
The decision to resume Toll Collection on the bridge is a sad testimonial of the fact that our elected leaders are wicked, satanic, insensitive and care less, if at all, for the welfare of the citizens of Lagos State chanted “Center Of Excellence”;
An average journey of 30 minutes takes 2 to 3 hours in this axis, due to traffic gridlock and no access roads. The government had given priority to commerce as opposed to welfare. The cost of living is astronomically high, without concomitant increase in income. Still, this Lagos State Government wants to worsen the quality of our lives, and have wrongly assumed that ours is a population of dumb educated people;
Apparently, we have elected an insensitive group of persons whose motivation is tax collection and taxation no matter its impact on the lives of its highly impoverished population;
Your Excellency, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the legacy being scripted for you by providence may not be a good one. You have so far had a turbulent tenure as Governor of Lagos State – 21 Storey Collapsed Building, #EndSARS, Magodo, death in a public bus and many more;
Please prevail on this LCC private company to be innovative in other things or give them a part of the Alpha-Beta largesse. To resume Toll Collection of roads anywhere in Lagos State will result in the people’s anger, in frustration and you may not be able to contain its resultant consequences. STOP this aberration.
To survive in this country Nigeria is an economic and social nightmare and daymare. This is Save-Our-Soul (SOS). Pity us and our families. LCC or whichever company or agency or parastatal should never ever have the right to further traumatize us. Bad roads, no light, no public medical health care.
As we approach the 2023 Gubernatorial Elections, will you be seeking reelection to govern Lagos State? If in the affirmative, please (In God’s Name) advise the LCC to back-off.
A Stitch In Time Saves Nine”.
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