The Lagos State Government at the weekend directed the concessionaires managing the Lekki-Epe Expressway and Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge to put paid to its plan to increase tariff on the expressway to avert under hardship on the road users.
The state government, also, asked the concessionaires to embark on necessary consultation with all stakeholders before taking decision to increase tariffs at the two toll plazas in the state.
The directive is contained in a statement by the Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, directing that the proposed tariff increase should not be effected at this period in the interest of all residents in the area.
While the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) has the concession right on the 50-kilometre Lekki-Epe Expressway, the Lagos Tolling Company was the initial operator of the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge, a 1.346-kilometre cable stay iconic bridge until the LCC took over recently.
According to the concessionaires, 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, the concessionaires proposed an increase of N300 from N250 for saloon cars; sports utility vehicles, mini vans, and light trucks N400, from N300.
In a statement he issued yesterday, however, Ayorinde noted that the attention of Lagos State Government â€œhas been drawn to the announcement of a proposed tariff hike on Lekki-Epe Expressway and Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge by the Lekki Concession Company (LCC).â€
He noted that the state government â€œhereby informs all residents across the state that the said tariff hike has now been put on hold as the necessary consultations with stakeholders are yet to be concluded.
â€œWhile government recognises the need for periodic review of tariffs and any other levies appertaining to road infrastructure maintenance in the state, the public and critical stakeholders as the ultimate beneficiaries of such facilities must always be carried along at all times.
â€œTherefore, the proposed tariff hike cannot be effected at this period in the interest of the public, while further consultations continue,â€ the commissioner said.
Before the state government issued its statement, no fewer than 5,000 residents had signed an online petition initiated by Ngozi Ihedigbo, protesting the decision of the concessionaires to increase tariff at the toll plazas.
The petition said the concessionaires had imposed the â€œincrement 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.
â€œYet all the state government is doing is to impose hardship on innocent people for their selfish gain. There is no reason there should be an increase on the Lekki-Victoria Island toll and we need this action to be stopped.â€
â€œThe Lekki-Victoria Island fare should actually be going down. Rather, there is a 70 per cent increase in toll fee starting November 8. Did anyone get a 70 per cent rise on salary? Did Nigeria inflation go up by 70 per cent? â€