By Benjamin Omoike
Residents of estates around the Lekki Peninsula have stated conditions for the reopening of the controversial tollgate. The terms were outlined by the Lekki Estates Residents and Stakeholders Association (LERSA).
Lagos State Government and Lekki Concession Company (LCC), managers of the expressway leading to Epe on which the tollgate is built, face the conditions that were contained in a press statement issued by the association, comprising over 80 estates and communities.
In the statement signed by Olorogun James Emadoye and Gbemi Adelekan, LERSA President and Secretary-General respectively, the residents asked the state government and LCC to provide viable alternatives to the tolled roads, implement round figure fees at the toll and immediately improve the tolling system technology to guarantee free traffic flow at the gates before reopening.
LERSA noted that its members have been victims of insecurity and disruption of movement since the #EndSARS protests of October, which led to the destruction and eventual closure of the tollgate and Saturday’s protest against the order for its reopening.
Appealing for restraint among angry youths, LERSA called on the government to allow free expression of discontent in a way that guarantees protection of lives and property.
The association also called on LCC to create an enabling environment for people and businesses along the axis, stressing that the experience of road users at the toll plazas before the shutdown was very unpleasant.
“Our road experience prior to the October 20th shutdown of the toll gates was that of hardship and suffering, with the long traffic at the toll plazas. A tolled road is supposed to provide a quick, safe and motorable experience, where users will be happy to pay for,” the statement said.
It stated that the government, through LCC, should realise that toll plazas cannot reopen and be operated the way they were before the shutdown.
The statement added: “Without a doubt, we are the only citizens in Nigeria that are forced to pay toll on a road that is less than 25km, completed in 14 years. With the poor experience and services at the toll plaza, we are actually paying for inconveniences rather than for convenience, as we spend on the average of 20 to 30 minutes to pay.”
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