Some residents of Lekki, Lagos State, have called for the cancellation of toll collection at the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge.
Operations at the toll gate were suspended in 2020 following a series of protests against police brutality and extrajudicial killings in different parts of the country, tagged #EndSARS.
While the management of the Lekki Concession Company Limited said operations would resume on April 1, 2022, it, shifted the resumption date to Friday, April 15.
On Friday, the LCC issued a statement saying toll collection had been shifted indefinitely for adequate consultation with all stakeholders.
However, residents said they would no longer pay tolls for the use of the road.
A resident, Lekan Jimoh, said it would be unfair to commuters if the government or the LCC commenced the toll collection, saying the funds used in constructing the road came from taxpayers.
He said, “I use that road a lot and sometimes, I pay over N1,000, which is not fair. The government is saying investors have to be paid. By now, they should have recouped whatever was spent on constructing the road.”
A driver, Mike Dennis, said the government should shelve the idea because of the economic hardship in the country.
“Why should they be talking of collecting tolls on that road when they have wrecked the economy? Taxpayers are the ones bearing the burden, despite what people are facing in this harsh economy,” he said.
A Lagos lawyer and social critic, Dele Farotimi, said the government had no right to toll anywhere because the court had declared it illegal.
He said, “The LCC is 100 per cent owned by the Lagos State Government; this is a testimony by the head of service at the tribunal.
“Are Lekki residents not taxpayers? Already, many residents of the area pay more taxes than any other place in Lagos State.
“In 2014, the Lagos High Court ruled that the Lagos State Government had no right to toll. The government ran to the court and got a stay of execution.
“This is not an inter-state road; it’s an intra-neighbourhood road. Why should it be tolled? If it be so, then, the Lagos State Government might just have to toll all Lagos roads.”
The state Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, said the state government was still consulting stakeholders with a view to ensuring that all issues pertaining to the resumption of tolling operations were ironed out.
He said, “It is in the interest of all parties and we urge citizens to show understanding because development is in the interest of all of us. This explains why the government is taking steps to ensure the efficiency of service because as we all know that it is in the best interests of all of us, including investors. The government is there to guarantee security and also ensure that the business activity resumes as soon as possible.” – Punch.