The management of Lekki Concession Company (LCC), the concessionaire of the Lekki Tollgate, on Thursday, appealed to various groups planning fresh protests at Lekki toll plaza to shelve the plan.
The planned #OccupyLekkiTollGate protest, as well as the counter #DefendLagos protests slated for Saturday, February 13 followed the recent decision of the State Judicial Panel of Inquiry to hand the Toll Plaza back to the company.
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The State Police Command has however declared that there would be no such protest on Saturday.
Addressing newsmen on Thursday, Managing Director of LCC, Mr Yomi Omomuwasan, said the decision to apply for the repossession of the tollgate was to “halt further losses to our operations, especially given our subsisting financial commitments to local and foreign financial institutions…”
‘Over 500 jobs threatened’
The Managing Director, who declared that the company had been a victim of the violence that trailed the #EndSARS protest with assets worth billions of naira lost, said the continued stoppage of its operation poses threat to the over 500 direct employees of the company.
He reiterated that LCC is a private company with over 500 direct staff and many indirect workers, disclosing that 90 per cent of their staff are youths.
He said: “Our intent with the request was to enable us to evaluate the damages, process insurance claims and rebuild the burnt facilities before the commencement of operations in order to continue to fulfil our loan repayment and other financial obligations.”
According to him, LCC did not make any attempt in October last year to stop the protest against police brutality at the tollgate despite being conscious of the effects to its operations.
He added: “We want to place on record that we cooperated fully with the Panel and made a strong representation through our lawyers concerning the return of our assets. A request the panel graciously granted on Saturday, February 6, 2021.
“We are therefore distressed by the reactions the decision of the Panel has elicited from some members of the public and their resolve to again forcefully take over the already destroyed Plaza on Saturday 13, February 2021.
“We wish to use this medium to appeal to well-meaning Nigerians from across the divide to reconsider the decision, which has the potentials of repeating the disruptions we all suffered and especially bringing sad memories to the various families that were affected by the protest of October 2020.
“It is also pertinent to restate and put it on record that, just like other businesses on the Lekki corridor, LCC is also a victim of the events, as assets worth several billions of naira were destroyed during the protests.
“LCC had nothing to do with the protest against police brutality, which was the central point of the youth agitation. As an organisation, we were unlucky to have been caught in the web.”
Omomuwasan also reiterated that despite the tolls not being operational since October 2020, LCC has continued to render essential services to all road users such as free 24/7 emergency assistance, vehicle breakdown and recovery services and security patrol to all road users plying the Eti-Osa Lekki-Epe Expressway.
“We, therefore, appeal to the organisers of the planned protest to reconsider the decision, and cooperate with us as we gradually restore and commence operations,” he added.