The Lekki Concession Company (LCC) has announced a date for the proposed resumption of toll operations at the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge Toll Plaza. Toll collection has been on hold for about 17 months following the brutal massacre of innocent protesters on October 20, 2020.
What led to the closure of toll operations
In October 2020, young Nigerians came out en masse to protest against police brutality on the streets of Lagos after a video of a young man shot and killed by the ill-famed Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) went viral. What started off as a protest against one case of police brutality evolved into a nationwide protest against years of police brutality, extortion, illegal killings and profiling under the #EndSARS body with several protest locations in various places within Lagos and the main protest at the Lekki toll gate. The ongoing protest shook Nigeria for two weeks forcing the government to agree to dissolve SARS and eventually, thugs infiltrated and hijacked the protest.
The situation escalated on the 20th of October when members of the Nigerian army and police officers opened fire at a crowd of unarmed protesters leaving many dead and injured. The judicial panel set up by the government to look investigate the night of the massacre found that there were at least 48 people victims; less than 11 people were murdered and not more than 24 people had gunshot injuries. The Lagos state Judicial Panel concluded that protesters were murdered in cold blood at the Lekki Toll Gate after the Nigerian army, Nigeria’s federal government and Minister of Information and Culture Mohammed Lai tried to invalidate it. “There was an attempt to cover up the incident of the 20th of October by the cleaning of the Lekki tollgate and the failure to preserve the scene ahead of the potential investigations,” the report added.
Since the closure of toll operations at the Lekki toll plaza and Ikoyi Link Bridge, the Lagos State Government is said to have lost over N2.5 billion within 95 days, according to Sahara Reporters. The Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge is estimated to generate about N10 million daily and N300 million per month, while the tollgate along the Lekki-Epe Expressway makes at least N16.6 million every day and N500 million monthly.
What is happening now?
Despite resistance from #EndSARS activists, no justice for lives lost and defined resolution, tolling operations at the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge Toll Plaza is scheduled to recommence on April 1st, 2022. Fliers distributed around Lekki add that the first two weeks of the opening will be toll-free for commuters using the passageway. The flier also tells motorists how to register for a free e-tag sticker.
Making the announcement, LCC’s Managing Director, Yomi Omomuwasan said the decision to reopen the gate comes after lengthy discussions with major stakeholders comprising of the residents’ associations, traditional and community leaders, expert groups, including the Lagos State Government.
“We have introduced new technology and innovations to make passages at the Toll Plaza seamless and faster for commuters. We are replacing old toll devices with upgraded ones for faster throughput at the Toll Plaza. The new devices have been configured to synchronise with the newly upgraded tolling systems and will improve functionality while enabling a better experience at the Toll Plaza,” he explained.
The gadgets will be stationed at any of the LCC Customer Service Centres at the Admiralty Circle Toll Plaza, Conservation Toll Plaza or the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge.