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LERA to LASG; ‘If you must toll by force, embark on measures to mitigate against traffic’

By Francis IWUCHUKWU

A call has been extended to the Lagos State government to introduce measures to mitigate traffic if it must introduce tolls.

The request came from the Lekki Residents Association (LERA) through its Chairman, Yomi Idowu.

The LERA Chairman’s position is contained in the Report of Stakeholders Meeting of the Lekki Estates Residents & Stakeholders Association (LERSA) convened by the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The meeting, which was held on April 3, 2022, had in attendance Mr Gbenga Omotosho – Commissioner for Information, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN – Commissioner for Justice, Dr Frederick Oladeinde – Commissioner for Transportation, Mr Femi George – Board Member, LCC, and Mr Yomi Omomuwasan – Managing Director, LCC.

The LERSA report reads:

REPORT OF STAKEHOLDERS MEETING CONVENED BY THE LAGOS STATE GOVERNOR ON SUNDAY 3RD APRIL 2022 AT STATE HOUSE, MARINA LAGOS ON THE PROPOSED TOLLING OF IKOYI-LINK BRIDGE.

BACKGROUND

The ongoing plan by the Lekki Concession Company to reopen and resume tolling on the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge has continued to generate debates and disputes between the motoring public and the Lagos State Government (LASG). The Governor was abreast of all developments and did consider it necessary to douse the tension and find some common ground between the LASG and Lekki stakeholders. The meeting was convened within a few hours as an emergency.

The President of LERSA, Olorogun James Emadoye led the following selected members of the Association to the meeting:

1. Arc. O.P.A. Ladega – Vice President, LERSA

2. Mr Keji Olajide – Financial Secretary, LERSA and Chairman of Bridgegate Estate

3. Mrs Chika Allison-Idalah – Director of Stakeholders Engagements, LERSA

4. Alhaji Sulyman Bello – Chairman of Infrastructure Committee, LERSA, and LCDA Chairman

5. Mr Yomi Idowu, Chairman of Lekki Phase 1 (LERA)

6. Mr Sony Irabor (LERA)

7. Mr Demola Folarin (LERA)

8. Mr Seni Adio (LERA)

9. Mrs Eniola (LERA)

10. Mr Paul Kogoro (LERA)

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu led the following Government functionaries to the meeting:

1. Mr Gbenga Omotosho – Commissioner for Information

2. Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN – Commissioner for Justice

3. Dr Frederick Oladeinde – Commissioner for Transportation

4. Mr Femi George – Board Member, LCC

5. Mr Yomi Omomuwasan – Managing Director, LCC

The Governor in his opening remarks acknowledged LERSA’s roles right from the 2018/2019 electioneering campaigns and appreciated LERSA for the several engaging letters and communication with his Government. He introduced the main reasons for the meeting which is the tolling of the Ikoyi Link Bridge while expressing the reasons why the Government came to the hard decision to resume tolling.

In his response, the President of LERSA thanked Mr Governor for making out time to personally participate in the ongoing stakeholders’ engagement on the resumption of tolling on the Ikoyi Link bridge while restating the many reasons why citizens and stakeholders of Lekki did not consider the decision as a popular and acceptable decision. He implored the government to reconsider, but if the government is still insisting on tolling, an acceptable work-out concession/arrangements should be fashioned for Lekki residence. He pointed out the fact that the state has also constructed several like roads in other parts of Lagos that are not tolled. Other speakers in the contingent spoke restating:

1. Possible public disorder and security challenges that may attend the tolling system due to the precarious economic situation and absence of basic social infrastructures in the area.

2. Stakeholders also bemoaned the painful tolling system of the past which resulted in long hours of queuing to make toll payments.

3. The absence of an alternative arterial road into the Lekki Peninsula was also emphasized as a major stumbling block to seamless commuting.

Mr. Governor restated the position of the government which it has carefully reviewed and considered.  He reemphasized that:

1. Over the years, the Lagos State Government has created immense value on the Lekki Peninsula which is the reason it has become the fastest-growing real estate corridor on the continent.

2. The numerous infrastructure projects on the Lekki Peninsula were enumerated as substantiation of the government’s commitment to the welfare of the people.

3. The many financial commitments of the Lagos State Government in respect of the Toll plazas were explained, and documentary evidence was presented for validation.

4. Government appealed for the understanding of all stakeholders in the implementation of the Lekki Ikoyi Link Bridge tolling project. The meeting was assured that the newly installed tolling systems will facilitate faster billing and passage.

5. Assurance was given that Lekki/Eti-Osa residents will be offered passage concessions in obeisance to their residency status. Full modalities of a dynamic and friendly tolling formula for residents to be worked out by a joint team of the government and representatives from the Association.

Additional comments by LERSA President and other members in the contingent include:

The President commended the state government on the development of the Lekki regional road and pointed out the challenges currently experienced on the right of ways which some citizens have built up and remarked on the Coastal Road which is currently being allocated for temporary development.  He requested that the policy be reviewed so as not to create problems for the future government on the coastal road. He also used the opportunity to request more BRT buses on the LEKKI-Epe road to ameliorate the transport challenges of the people.

Fear was also expressed about what may become of the Lekki corridor when activities commence at the Dangote refinery and Deep-Sea Port.

The Lekki Phase 1 Chairman expressed a security concern which borders on the gate at the end of Freedom way/entrance into Admiralty way purportedly removed by the Lagos State Government at a time. According to him, this made the incursion of unwanted persons into the Estate very easy.

The LERA team emphasized that tolling should be shelved for now but if the Government is going to insist by force which may bring public disorder, “we will appeal that the Government should make a pronouncement that they met with us and agreed to step down on April 15th date and start making arrangements for measures that will assist in easy flow of traffic, e.g. traffic light at the roundabout and FO Petrol Station junction. Red markings all along Admiralty way for no stopping, parking and no waiting.

For concessions meetings to hold by both parties to agree on concessions, top amongst is no tolling on weekends and one-way payments for Lekki residents.

In his response, Mr Governor promised to review the Coastal Road matter and assure that more BRT buses shall be allocated once the BRT bus terminal at Ajah which he touted as the biggest in Lagos is completed.

Also, gave an assurance that the perceived nightmare on this corridor when activities commence at the Dangote refinery and Deep-Sea Port would be better managed as his government is working with the FGN to put necessary structures in place and equally hinted of train service to further ease commuting on this corridor in the nearest future.

Promised to investigate the issue of the gate removed at the end of Freedom way/entrance into Admiralty way and revert thereafter.

The LERA team emphasised that tolling should be shelved for now but if the government is going to insist by force which may bring protest, we appeal that the government should make a pronouncement that they met with us and agreed to step down on the April 15th date and start making arrangements for measures that will assist in easy flow of traffic, e.g. traffic light at the roundabout and FO petrol station junction. Red markings all along Admiralty way for no stopping, parking and no waiting.

For concessions meetings to hold by both parties to agree on concessions, top amongst are no tolling on weekends and one-way toll payments for Lekki residents.

The meeting ended on a cordial note with the assurance that LERSA Committee and Government would further meet to work out acceptable concessions that would produce a win-win situation for all.

*Lekki Estates Residents & Stakeholders Association (LERSA) Secretariat*

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