Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Mr Gbenga Omotosho on Wednesday evening explained why the state government is in support of reopening the toll gate on Osborne-Ikoyi link bridge, saying the operators, Lekki Concession Company(LCC) needs to pay back a loan of $31.1 million, and N11.6 billion.
Besides, LCC needs to take care of over 500 members of staff who had been on half salary for the past 18 months, according to the commissioner. He was reacting to a letter written to the state governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, by a Lagos lawyer, Chief Kunle Uthman, asking the governor not to consent to the reopening of the toll gate by LCC. The company had already given April 1, 2022 date for the reopening.
Omotosho in his reply said: “How will LCC pay its mountain of debts -$31.1m and N11.6b? What happens to over 500 workers who have been on either half salary or no salary for 18 months? Majority of them are young, with equally young families;
How will foreign lenders see our businesses? How will more roads be built? How will this particular road be maintained? Tax? Our tax to GDP ratio is among the lowest in Africa. Of 6m recognised taxpayers in Lagos, only 4.2m are active. Lagos is estimated to be about 25m; We all talk about our rights and privileges; good. We have a right to. But, wait a minute, can’t we spare a moment for responsibility?
Omotosho said that LCC is not being forceful or arrogant. “The company is not bragging; it’s pleading for understanding” he said, adding that LCC is already “getting a listening ear – Lekki residents, motorists, businesses and ordinary folks.
“Most of those who don’t want to show some understanding don’t even live here; they stay overseas (where nothing is free) and send us inciting messages. I believe that soon reason will prevail. It’s all for a #GreaterLagos”, he concluded.