Lagos State Government, in collaboration with Lekki Concession Company Limited, LCC, at the weekend bowed to public pressure and suspended indefinitely, the resumption date of toll collection at the Ikoyi Link Bridge Toll Plaza. Toll collection was earlier scheduled to begin today, April 16, 2022.
According to a statement signed by the Managing Director of LCC, Yomi Omomuwasan and made available to newsmen on Friday, the company decided to delay the resumption of toll collection for further consultations with key stakeholders in the Eti-Osa, Lekki area, in a bid to address their concerns and arrive at a mutually favourable resolution of all issues.
A senior lawyer, and Lekki resident, Chief Kunle Uthman commended the state government for bowing to the will of the people. Uthman regarded the news as “Easter Palliative Package” for the residents of Lekki-Epe axis of Lagos State.
He said: “Political scientists through the centuries have unequivocally submitted that government is in the nature of a trust, which is more approximately described as a social contract, between the government and the governed. The essence of this contract, as it were, is to guarantee, through good and responsible government “the greatest happiness of the greatest number”.
According to him, Nigeria as a democracy must always respect the ‘Voice of the People’ and that governments must be seen as friends, not foes. “Ours is indeed a democracy and the “Voice of the People” in all matters that affect their lives day-by-day must be respected, and the government must be a friend and not a foe”.
He said further that residents of Lekki / VGC / Ibeju-Lekki / Akodo down to Epe and all commuters on this road appreciate and applaud the LCC-LASG decision to suspend tolling on the Osborne Ikoyi / Lekki Link Bridge. It is the right thing to do in these austere times when survival day-by-day has become excruciatingly difficult. The cost of living has become unbearable and there is no need to be repetitive in this instance.
He advised the state government to consider alternate sources of revenue and leave the Osborne Ikoyi / Lekki Link Bridge and the Admiralty Way Toll Plaza untolled. “There is no identifiable legislation (anywhere) on this matter and the decision of the courts of law must only be obeyed and respected but not vilified by a responsible democratic government”, he said.
“In the next 12 months, the citizenry by franchise will elect new government at all levels to navigate the ship of Nigeria from these difficult times into a better rewarding future of “milk and honey”. Here lies the power of the people, to vote in, vote out or replace any government that they found unsavory, unsatisfactory or tyrannical;
For good reasons, the term “Lekki” has received global attention courtesy of the #EndSARS and its aftermath of carnage, deaths and massive destruction of legitimate properties. These protests by youths resonated globally and pitched the local press against the international media. We must ensure that “Lekki” will not, once again, resonate globally as a “theatre of war”;
The massive private sector investment in the Lekki Free Trade Zone, which includes a Fertiliser Plant and a Petrochemical Refinery should be complemented with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of those companies. These private investors and investments for pecuniary benefits must be made to immediately commence the construction of access roads to serve the thousands of trucks and trailers that will be needed to serve their capitalists interests;
The immediate commencement of a coastal road from the Lekki Free Trade Zone / Akodo to Victoria Island will assist in decongesting the traffic gridlock that will be further worsened in the next few months when the Fertiliser and Petrochemical Plants commence full operations;
The construction of the much touted 4th Mainland Bridge will help and life and living will become more comfortable. The present state of anomie is living in traffic, by spending an average of between 4 to 6 hours daily in gruesome traffic;
The irony of the “Season Of Deafening Silence” will be found in the literal oxymoron in the fact that many serving judges of the Lagos State High Court, top rated civil servants, bureaucrats, including the Commissioner of Home Affairs, students, artisans and traders utilise this bridge daily and will all be impacted by whatever decision the LCC LASG takes in respect of this link bridge;
The LCC LASG must allow freedom of expression in its geographical space. Censored reports and private meetings with the Governor in a matter of public interest sends the wrong signal to the world at large”, Uthman said.
The lawyer commended the efforts of those involved in the advocacy of stopping toll collection on the link bridge. “Mr Bankole Wellington (Banky W), Mr. Debo Adedayo(Mr Macaroni), Yemi Adamolekun, Folarin Falana (Falz) (the son of leading human rights activist, Femi Falana SAN), Ms Ajibike Opere, Barrister Fatai Sulaiman, the President and officials of the Lekki Stakeholders Resident Association should be applauded, for their courage and determination that each vehicle is not road taxed: N800 per day × 365 days.The LCC LASG should tell us how many vehicle ply the Bridge on a day-by-day basis. If it is 40,000 or more, the revenue from that bridge is enormous”.
Uthman warned that secrecy, unfulfilled promises, falsehoods, and coercion are factors that define an Oligarchy and not a Democracy. LASG should therefore resist the temptations to always use force as an alternative to populist actions. This is what will befriend the citizenry and not pitch them against those who elected them and who will ultimately decide their fate at the polls. “A stitch In time saves nine”, he concluded.
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