The attention of the Lagos State People’s Democratic Party PDP has been drawn to series of disturbing security reports as regarding the proposed plan of some Youths in Lagos State to stage a peaceful protest at the Lekki Tollgate.
You would recall that the Justice Doris Okuwobi led panel of inquiry set up by the Lagos State Government had voted in favour of the commencement of operations at the toll plaza.
In the same vein, the Youths representatives on the panel had vehemently rejected the decision, saying they were not carried along and that the decision is ill-timed and insensitive.
Some Youths in the state, under the aegis of #OccupyLekkiTollgate and #DefendLagos have set a February 13, 2021 to protest at the plaza.
Reports have it , that these protests would be met with huge Police and Military presence.
The Engr Adedeji Doherty led Lagos State PDP Exco, has however called out on the Babajide Sanwo-Olu led Lagos State Government to tread with caution in dealing with the situation.
He stated that the Lagos State Government should firstly come out publicly to inform Lagosians about all that surrounds the Lekki Concession Company, this should include, the details of the entire tollgate contract, the beneficiaries, the owners of the business and other grey areas of this transaction, as various unhealthy rumors are being filtered around the project especially as it concerns the common mans purse.
Engr Doherty stated that, in view of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, the state government should inform Lagosians of the significance and importance of the tollgate and why it must commence operations at this sensitive time especially as it relates to the COVID 19 economic pandemic that is ravaging the country especially Lagos.
The Lagos State PDP Chairman stated that, it is on record that, the Lekki/Epe expressway was started by the Lateef Jakande administration and completed up to the Eleko Junction, while subsequent administrations extended the road to Epe.
This expressway had always being a toll free highway built with taxpayers funds and as such , shouldn’t be tolled.
Furthermore, It is the only highway available to communities on this axis with no alternative routes.
This very important road was given to Lekki Concession Company (LCC) for a period of 30years, but the question remains, why should an already constructed expressway attract a tollgate and an unnecessary consultant.
It should also be noted that the LCC was a hurriedly contrived company established to oversee the Lekki toll concession business with no direct or positive economic impact on the communities or road users as the Lagos state Government also has a ministry that maintains Lagos Roads Daily.
Engr Doherty stated that it should also be noted that the state government collects all forms of taxes from people on this axis, these taxes include, Land Use charges, development taxes from residents on both sides of the road, taxes on public transportation collected by men of the NURTW, company income taxes, VAT, consumption taxes, radio/TV taxes, hotel and tourism taxes, advertisement taxes, vehicle taxes and all other forms of taxes.
He stated that all these taxes are expected to be used for development of infrastructure, but residents of this area do not get the reciprocal infrastructural development from government.
He asked to know, why a government would be so unfair and insensitive to re-introduce daily toll charges on its citizens at these times.
He said, elders in the state would not fold their arms and watch things going from bad to worse, most especially at these times when the state seems to be enjoying relative peace with the suspension of collection of tolls at the plazas.
He stated that the Lagos State PDP, would like to sound a note of caution that with the economic situation in the nation today, coupled with the Covid19 pandemic related situations, Lagosians should not be stretched further with the re-introduction of toll collection at the plazas at both the Lekki and Bourdillon ends of the state.
He also warned that peaceful protests is a fundamental human right of the citizenry and any form of showdown with protesters is unacceptable and should be discouraged, peaceful protesters should be protected by the security apparatus of government which includes the police, from any form of infiltration by hoodlums.
Engr Doherty stated that anything contrary to all what he has outlined would be deemed as an act of oppression on the citizenry and also an act of economic sabotage by the APC ruling government as well as would only be potraying the Nations democracy in negative light.