The Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotosho, on Wednesday, stated that there is no going back on the April 1 date for the Lekki Toll Gate reopening.
During the #EndSARS protest that rocked the country in October 2020, it was reported that on the night of October 20, 2020, at about 6:50 p.m. members of the Nigerian Army opened fire on unarmed #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll. Due to the incident, the toll gate had been evacuated for about 18 months.
While speaking during an interview on Arise TV, the Lagos State spokesman noted that there was no going back on the reopening of the toll gate as the company in charge of the Lekki toll gate, Lekki Concession Company Limited, owes about N24.52bn to both local and foreign lenders.
He said that the decision to reopen the toll gate was due to encouragement from stakeholders in the area so there ought not to be any resistance.
“From all the encouragement that the LCC has gotten from stakeholders; people who live in that place, work there, or even drive through, they have printed handbills that have been given to people. They have had various meetings with people who live around that area and people who use the road frequently.
“So, I do not think that there is going to be any resistance at all. The first time that LCC went to the place, it was not just to open the place and begin to collect toll, it was just for the company to go there and see the damage to its equipment and how the damage can be redressed.
“Even this one has taken about 18 months for LCC to plan to return to the Toll Gate because it has no choice after borrowing about N11.6bn from local lenders and $31.1m from foreign lenders. So, there is no way that LCC can just stay away from going back to tolling on that road,” he said.
Omotosho while stating more reasons why the reopening of the toll gate is inevitable, the commissioner noted that the company has a staff strength of about 500 people who have been idle for about 18 months and they have dependents.
“Also, there are about 500 workers at LCC, about 90 per cent of them have been idle for the past 18 months and they have families to feed; friends and relations to attend to. So, for the company to want to return now, and like I said, people are giving them great understanding,” the commissioner said.
Omotosho further claimed that most people clamouring against the reopening of the toll gate do not live in Nigeria.
“Most of the people that have been vociferous about the Lekki Construction Company returning to the toll gate are people who do not live around that place. What I have discovered are people who don’t live in Nigeria. They send messages from thousands of miles away asking people not to go there and pay a toll while saying all manners of unprintable things,” he said.