The Lekki Concession Company Limited (LCC) announced an increase in toll tariffs paid by motorists at both the Admiralty Circle Toll Plaza on the Lekki – Epe road and the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge Toll Plaza with effect from February, 1, 2018. They had reasonable reason for the increase, claiming that “The toll fare increase is as a result of current economic and business realities that have adversely increased the cost of operations and maintenance of the company’s loan obligations”.
According to the Managing Director of the LCC, Mr Mohammed Hassan, “Since the commencement of tolling in December 2011, the toll tariffs had remained the same despite the continuous increase in the cost of operations to ensure that the toll plazas and the road infrastructure are well maintained. The toll review has also become necessary to enable the company meet its loan obligations to its local and foreign lenders, considering the fact that foreign exchange rates have continued to increase astronomically in the last couple of years. LCC cannot continue to operate or provide the services required from us if we do not review the toll tariffs.”
Keeping in line with its corporate objectives of delivering real utility to road users on the Eti-Osa/Lekki-Epe Expressway and the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge, LCC had managed operations of the roads for the past ten years despite the yearly increase of the cost of operations and other relevant expenses. In addition, LCC provides various other services to road users, especially as it relates to their convenience such as the 24/7 free vehicle breakdown and recovery services by the Company’s Route and Incident Management team; the LCC dedicated Police team; the Toll free Customer Service helpline and other services. Over 100,000 road users have benefited from the free service of the Route and Incident Management team since inception, while LCC dedicated police team has ensured improved security along the expressway.
Many of the consulted stakeholders, including traditional rulers and community leaders, residents’ associations and youth groups, Eti-Osa Local Government officials, members of the media, as well as members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Eti-Osa Local Government Area agreed that there was a need for constant upgrade of road facilities, as the Eti-Osa/Lekki-Epe corridor was rapidly becoming an international economic hub for investors.
When reading the statements released by the LCC it is very easy to understand with them and feel even the slightest hint of sympathy. After all, it’s just a little amount of money added, you may say, it won’t hurt anyone to pay extra. However, later on we are made to realize that a major reason for the increase is as an incentive for Lagosian who frequently use the toll plaza to purchase the e-tag which would give the opportunity to pay less.
Reading in between the lines however, I am forced to wonder if the LCC are not implying in any way that they are doing Lagosians a favor because if they ask around, they would realize that most people were not in support of the idea of the toll plazas in the first place. And although it may seem like the noise has died down, the people remember and have somehow just learnt to accept their fate. The toll plazas’ since inception have been a constant source of head and heart ache to Nigerians who have to commute back and forth and pay each time.
The LCC has to understand also that it is not only about the money. Commute through the toll plaza is never easy because of the heavy traffic people meet EVERY time, yes every time. It gets worse at certain hours of the day and trust me Nigerians are not happy to be paying for stress.
They brag openly about the community service and maintenance they claim to instill along those roads forgetting that the negatives commuters see as a result of the toll far outweighs the positives and to be completely frank, we do not care about whatever they believe they are giving us. It is just not worth it.
My take on the toll fare increase? The LCC are adding insult to injury preying on the fact that Lagosians have come to accept the toll plazas’ as an evil that is here to stay.