Thousands of Lagosians have begun signing an online petition to protest a planned hike in tariffs at the toll plazas at the Lekki-Epe expressway and the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge in Lagos.
The tariff, which was increased by between 20 and 90 per cent, will become effective on November 8.
The online petition, initiated by Ngozi Ihedigbo, said the Lekki Concession Company, LCC, the operator of the toll plazas, imposed the “increment on us with absolutely no explanations.”
“Nigeria is a country in recession, people have no jobs and the ones with jobs can hardly survive on their salaries,” the petition began.
“Yet all the government is doing is impose hardship on innocent people for their selfish gain. There is no reason why there should be an increase on the Lekki-Victoria Island toll and we need this action to be stopped.
“We can no longer sit and fold our arms and say ‘it’s business as usual.’ We pay taxes, even though we do not see any major improvements to quantity these payments. We are our own government as we provide our own water, light and in most cases our road. Yet all the government does is take, take and take from us.
“The Lekki-VI fare should actually be going down, rather there is a 70 per cent increase in toll fee starting November 8th 2017. Did anyone get a 70 per cent raise on salary? Did Nigeria inflation go up by 70 per cent? ”
As at 9 p.m. on Friday, more than 5,000 persons have signed the petition, less than 12 hours after it was uploaded on online portal, CitizenGO.
According to the LCC, the new tariff for saloon cars at the Admiralty Circle Plaza (along the Lekki-Epe expressway) will now be N200, from N120; sports utility vehicles will pay N400, from N300; while commercial buses, arguably the worst hit, will pay N150 from N80.
At the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge, saloon cars will pay N300, from N250; sports utility vehicles, mini vans, and light trucks N400, from N300.
Emmanuel Armah, a spokesperson for the Lekki Concession Company, told PREMIUM TIMES on Friday that the company would issue a public explanation for the increase “very soon.”
But a staff of the company who preferred not to be named told PREMIUM Times that the country’s economic situation has taken a toll on their operations.
“You can see all the repairs, all the works that we have been doing. So there is need for us to get money from somewhere because we cannot keep having to outsource everyday and we’re still not getting returns for what we are doing,” the staff said.
“We are fixing the road, we are making sure that there is 24 hours security on the road, we pay for all those and then we are taking the road to Epe.
“And the second toll gate that is supposed to be generating funds, we’ve already scrapped that one completely.
“And we are not doubling that one (the new increase), we are only putting a stipend on it.
“So, instead of tolling the second one, we are now putting a fraction of the money that we are supposed to be getting from that one on this so that once you’ve entered this axis you don’t have to pay again.”
Asked why the increment came at a short notice to the public, the staff said, “We have been doing everything to make sure it doesn’t happen, we have been trying to get money from somewhere else but right now there is nothing we can do about it.
“Legally, we are supposed to give at least a week notice.”