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The Lekki Toll Gate Protest – An Eyewitness Account

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I woke up at about 6:45am on Saturday 17th December and prepared myself to go out and take part in the scheduled peaceful protest against the imposed tolling of the Lekki-Epe expressway as announced by the Lekki Concession Company, LCC and the Lagos State Government. I had a quick bath in between responding to BB messages and phone calls from a couple of friends who were to join us at the protest venue. These friends wanted details, but truth be told, the available details as to the organisation of the protest were sketchy. It was a firm resolve to try and voice our dissatisfaction with the way that the LCC, and LASG were going about the imposition of an arbitrary tolling of the yet to be completed Lekki-Epe expressway that edged us on. This feeling was inspired by successful protests witnessed world over in the outgoing year; we were resolved to let our voices be heard.

My wife and I decided against driving and took a bus down to Lekki Phase One estate roundabout. We wore tee-shirts, jeans and trainers, with a backpack that had water and snacks should we get hungry during the march. We got there at about 9:15am and the first thing we saw was a formidable contingent of men of the Nigeria Police Force, looking unusually sharp. We quickly walked to a gathering of people who were sporting white tee-shirts that read “NOTTOLA No To Tolling On Lekki Axis.” We enquired as to the route of the planned protest march and how long it would take. We were told that we were to walk from Phase One roundabout to the Admiralty toll gate itself. While we waited we bumped into our ex-bosses, and one or two former colleagues in the two different banks that we used to work in. Indeed, it was a congregation of all sorts of people: the elderly, youths, bankers, and entrepreneurs, upper to lower class people. Personally, I was tripped that some of the “elite” could participate in something like this. I was encouraged.

Before long our friend Ejike arrived and we quickly got ourselves tee-shirts and fez caps bearing the “NOTTOLA” inscription from the nice but strict lady that was giving them out (she reminded me of one of my teachers in primary school). The crowd grew in number and we saw a few more people that we knew. I spied Kate Henshaw amongst us and acquired some newfound respect for her for the way she threw herself in the thick of things. Members of the press were present and quickly interviewed some of the spokesmen for the protesters. I saw NTA, Silverbird and TVC camera crew. Our numbers swelled again as three bus loads of protesters joined us. By this time traffic was gradually building along the road with quite a number of motorists tooting their horns in solidarity.

The marching began at about 10am with the police shepherding us to one side of the road so as not to obstruct vehicular traffic; by this time we were about two hundred people in number. During the short walk, we found ourselves talking about what had brought us there. Men, women, single and married folk all gave their views on the toll. Here was a melting pot of professionals and highly educated people contributing their two kobo to the issue. One married woman who resides in Ajah practically broke down how much the toll would cost her and her family every year – it ran into N400,000. I mean who was consulted? Where was the stakeholder consultations and management? What about the various taxes that we pay as residents of Lagos state, either directly or indirectly?  And it was not all about the “rich” Lekki folk, what about the poor among us that live in villages and face-me-i-face-you apartments all around the Lekki area, some as far as Awoyaya? They would have to eventually pay at three toll gates for a road that is only being expanded by one lane on either side. Some spoke of the poor quality of the road where it undulates at some points. There was a general feeling that we were being taken for granted by the LASG. It was a reminder of the draconian leadership experienced during the “dark” days of the military. I heard things about Gov. Babatunde Fashola’s opinion of Lekki residents that I would not want to repeat.

The women organised themselves and tried to form a collective. Before long students from the Lagos State University (LASU) joined us as they arrived in buses. In my opinion, their arrival was one of the turning points in the protest. You see LASU students had earlier in the week protested around their campus along Lagos-Badagry express road, against the hike in their school fees from about N30,000 to about N250,000. Now given their immaturity, students tend to be more volatile than the rest of us. Before long we found ourselves having to quell a few altercations between the police and the student members. At this point we had gotten to the toll gate and were summarily obstructed from getting to the booths by the armed policemen. We all sat down on the road at some point, this was where the confusion set in. We did not know what the next move was. Were we to cross over to the other side of the toll booths or were we to cross the road to the other side and head to the other toll gate under construction after Chevron Estate? Or were we to remain put? Meanwhile, one particular police officer was keen on goading the LASU student members. It was as if he wanted some “action”, and action was what he got. Before we could say “Shoprite” the next thing we heard were gun shots. Some trigger happy policemen had begun to shoot in the air. But we stood our ground and refused to run away. While we were still standing, some policemen arrived in a Black Maria and jumped out looking to bundle the volatile students away. From then on things went bad. We instinctively started dispersing. Tear gas was now fired into the crowd and the protesters turned and ran back towards Lekki Phase One.

I held tight unto my wife’s hand and told her not to run or panic. She was cool. As we were right in front of and in the midst of the policemen we were not affected by the tear gas. When the crowd had run a good distance away, we began to walk away slowly from the policemen. We had almost made it out of their midst when one cop tried to accost us. But thanks to quick thinking by our friend Ejike we were let go. He just shouted at the cops, “Can’t you see she’s not feeling well! We are taking her to the hospital jo!” Six years of secondary school education at the Nigerian Military School Zaria gave his voice the extra steel needed for the cops to change their minds about grabbing us. But around us people were being rounded up, mostly youths. We quickly crossed the road to the median trying to move away from the policemen. However, more canisters of tear gas were fired into the departing crowd and we eventually ran into it. I was blinded and choking like a wet cat, my first taste of teargas. We quickly wet our handkerchiefs to mitigate the effects of the teargas. I admit that my wife fared a lot better than I did with the tear gas as she had previously tasted it as a student at the university. The effects gradually wore off as we stumbled along the median. One of our members, a guy I remember from earlier took off his tee-shirt and cap and advised us to do the same. But that was not our last ordeal. A danfo bus driving against traffic on the Ajah bound lane screeched to a halt just in front of our retreating selves and a big man jumped out wielding sachets of pure water.  We were confused as he was right in front of us. Was he for us or against us? We soon found out as he began to throw the sachets at us. He missed me but unfortunately he got my wife square in the face. One girl beside us got slapped and her phone stolen by this tout of a man. But I am happy to report that she landed a good slap in return. We trudged on, now not knowing whom to be more afraid of, the police fast approaching behind us or the pro-Fashola NURTW members that had begun attacking protesters? We got blocked by the touts who wanted to “involve” us but we calmly pushed our way through with one of them telling the others to leave us alone.

We eventually got into Lekki Phase One estate where the residents and other protesters had retreated to. Mr. Soni Irabor was seen organising the security men to close the gates of the estate. We saw some of our comrades and licked our wounds with a reporter from Silverbird commending my wife for her bravery. Some people spoke of taking legal action against the LCC, ARM, the state government and the police. But now the feeling of being trapped began to get to us. We had to get out of Dodge! We were not residents of Phase One and still had a long way to go to get home down the express road. With the gates closing and traffic building up within the estate madam and I crossed over to the okada park and got on bikes to take us to the second exit gate. Just as we were leaving there was a stampede of people running away from the gates into the estate, car owners were seen reversing furiously. We eventually got a bus to take us home.

I write from the “safety” of my home. I was able to get a few tweets out chronicling the events with attendant pictures. Some people say that we were extremely brave, while some have called us idiots for taking part in a protest in a country like Nigeria. All I can say is that although Nigerians are perfectly inelastic when it comes to increased levels of oppression and suffering, there still remains a few of us willing to get off Twitter and Facebook and actually do something about the appalling survivalist and minimal living conditions that we are going to be subjected to by the government of this country. I am happy that the elite for once took the “fight” to the government. We are not unreasonable people, on the contrary we are very educated and enlightened, and so were the people of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

Allow me to end this by quoting the Manic Street Preachers, “If you tolerate this, then your children [definitely] will be next!”

75 Comments

  1. AlittleHumor

    December 19, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    You all were brave and will remain heroes! Well done!

    • Tosin

      December 21, 2011 at 2:00 am

      You were indeed brave and your experience was very well documented. I commend your efforts However, I’m not sure that focus of the protest was properly directed. What were the protesters seeking to achieve, a reduction in the tolls or a complete abolishment of the tolls? When the goal isn’t clear, the process will be tortuous.

      I do not support a complete abolishment of the tolls but I would certainly personally benefit from a reduction of the tolls.

      While I do not know and cannot ascertain from information at hand whether or not a N150 toll is exorbitant, I must say however that I feel that we Nigerians have been living in a dysfunctional society for too long that gives false hopes of possibility. Nigeria is really NOT as rich as we would like to believe (but ofcourse we would be far richer if our, uncles and aunties, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and cousins weren’t looting the treasury). Someone has got to pay for infrastructure… So, despite our national wealth being squandered on moet and chandon in Lagos clubs and on Dubai shopping sprees; visionary leaders like Fashola do not fold their arms. They get creative and this is result: progress and development, though less pleasant. #Lets-focus-our-energies.

  2. sisieko

    December 19, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Thank you thank you thank you sir. The last statement is very apt. That’s how we got here in the 1st place. Do something now, just because we can bear it all, doesn’t mean its right.

  3. pynk

    December 19, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    wow, i didnt realise the thing degenerated this badly.

  4. Ogo

    December 19, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Awwwww @ I held tight unto my wife’s hand and told her not to run or panic!! Lol

  5. nich

    December 19, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    egypt, libya, tunisia succeded because the were muslims………..blood for blood….christians are good hearted people and such a revolution cannot take place in nigeria…

    • FunkeT

      December 19, 2011 at 5:11 pm

      I have seen some pretty dumb comments on this site but yours sure does get the nobel…smh

    • MI

      December 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm

      @Nich… this is not a revolution neither is it a ploy to unseat the government. This is an issue of fundamental rights of citizens. With lots of people already paying their taxes in the state, why then should another form of tax being collected/imposed on residents of a particluar area???

    • Missy

      December 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      I think you a bit ignorant. Did you not watch as Muslims and Christians came together especially in Egypt to fight agains the government?

    • ade

      December 20, 2011 at 1:01 pm

      Isrelis are they Muslims ?My people die because they lack knowledge.

  6. kkecjiechikech

    December 19, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    tolls will keep our roads more effective….common guys, think about it! this is the wrong thing to fight against. Fight against the govt. and silly presidents. but not tolls that will keep our roads running, and thus reduce traffic. it does not make sense….

    • Titi

      December 19, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      U obviously av no idea wqat u are talking abt sir ! Wat abt several taxes (many of them duplicated) that are being paid to this same Lagos state government, wat are they used for? U have any idea how much its costs to get governmt clearance for a plot of land in Lekki? Inspite of this, wat government presence do u see at Lekki ? No water, no light, no good roads etc !! And besides, the part of that road being tolled is intra-city !! Where in the world have u seen such precedence of an intra-city road being tolled sir ? Is the Lekki express the only road dat Fasola has refurbished? (Pls Note: He didnt build this road newly, it was existing with 2 lanes! ) Y hasnt he tolled the others, y start with Lekki expresss ? Bros, reasonable arguement against this tolling far outweighs any advantage, IF ANY !!

    • Ronnie

      December 19, 2011 at 6:28 pm

      I agree with you. Nigerians fail to see the bigger picture! Why no protests at Aso rock about the govt’s handling of Boko Haram? Why no protests in front of the national assembly against their stealing our monies? Why no protest against govt for neglecting our hospitals /schools/ electricity? As far as i’m concerned this was just a “show” by rich peeps in Lag against the only good example of governance in the country. Though i have a problem with the way this has been implemented, i believe we have our priorities totally wrong!

    • Gidi

      December 20, 2011 at 11:08 am

      I respect your right to hold this view but i find it dumb. Protesting an ill concieved and porly executed project is a show off? So because we have not protested at Aso Rock, you would allow yourself to be raped (metaphorically) without speaking out?

    • partyrider

      December 19, 2011 at 8:26 pm

      just so you know, the toll has INCREASED the traffic..i guess those that were planning didnt put,the time it will take to pay and give change to every driver into consideration..the toll that was put to reduce traffic has caused a bigger traffic…#fail
      yes, if we want good roads we should pay, but it goes beyond that,alot must be put into consideration…and for a toll to be in the middle of town? -BAD IDEA!

    • Tosin

      December 20, 2011 at 12:38 am

      reduce the traffic? the traffic is worse..tolls make the roads more effective? why not toll ikoyi?? who in their right senses tolls residential areas?? i think you should read more about urban planning

    • Babe

      December 20, 2011 at 9:07 pm

      there’s something wrong with charging each car N120. I did the math when I got in this evening. My taxi was about the 133000th or tehre about and they made over N15m today from one booth! There is tax and there is robbery… Hitler will be proud!

  7. majo

    December 19, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    wow. I’m impressed that there was actually a protest. I don’t know the details on the cost of the toll, but I’m still HIGHLY impressed that people protested. Exercising your right to be heard is very commendable and courageous.

    • seyi

      December 19, 2011 at 4:59 pm

      N150 per toll, if you go through all 3 in one day to and from work that’s N900 a day, N4,500 per week, N18,000 per month and N216,000 per year. asuming you only go to work and don’t go out on the weekends and you are single….

    • Gidi

      December 20, 2011 at 11:13 am

      woe betide you if you forget something at home and only remember after you get to Law school. Meanwhile Lekki and VGC residents would soon start paying for their visitors toll fee.

    • Knight

      December 20, 2011 at 3:53 pm

      And to think Minimum wage is N18,000.00
      If they are brave, why didnt they start collection of toll b4 govership election early this year or even the recent LGA elections….
      Its time to say NO to Tinubu’s quest to become richest man in Africa using the mases as funders

  8. seyi

    December 19, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    It’s amazing that anyone will be for tolling on that road. Even if the money will be put to good use (which i guarantee you it won’t, unless asiwaju’s pocket is considered good use) logistically it will be nightmare. You don’t put a toll right at the entrance of the major city in a 3rd world country. As sophisticated as New York is, it’s still a struggle for them and they are considered the greatest city in the world!!!

  9. pettybembo

    December 19, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    @kkecjiechikech, Wot re u sayin?like u dnt knw ur country Nigeria, u think d road will get beta? If so dey shd ve given us a road in d 1st place, ve u bin on lekki express way? U nid to come n c d so called road dat was fix! Sir thank u so much 4 ur fight against d Toll, abt ur wife am sorry buh God will bless her, I was scared wen I read dis part! I held on to my wife’ hand n told her not to panic, am a woman I can only imagine aw she was @ dat moment. Thanks to evry1 who went out dat morning! God bless u guys.

  10. Wow

    December 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    TJ O’Karo, I salute you! I never thought I would see that happen.

  11. Tayo Abe

    December 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I applaud ur bravery and ur wife’s too. I work in lekki and was able to witness some of it. My heart goes out to the residents of lekki, VGC etc. I hope Nigerians will in future emulate such affirmative action in fighting other causes. Though It may seem 2 av failed, yet an impact was made. Better to stand and fall than suffer in silence. God bless.

  12. Obi

    December 19, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    @Nich … such revolution did not succeed in the middle east because they are Muslims. It succeeded because they were fed up! Period! When you are done suffering and smiling, then you get up and do something. Unnecessary categorization of people and their beliefs is a roadblock to success.

    • Gee

      December 19, 2011 at 9:08 pm

      @ Nich and @ Obi:
      Actually it succeded because – yes they were fed up as Obi says, BUT ALSO, and perhaps most importantly, because they were actuallt READY to be killed. In fact the riot in Tunisia was actually sparked by a man who set himself ablaze – killing himself in the process but apparently set the hearts of his country men on fire!

    • d.s

      December 20, 2011 at 8:11 pm

      @Obi word

  13. MelonX

    December 19, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    The so-called and elites will gradually start feeling the pinch. It is okay to toll the road but that fare is just too stiff. And yes, if the govt wants to toll they should provide a decent and well thought out alternate route to and from Epe (on the axis they plan to toll). It simply isn’t fair how they’ve implemented this hwy toll project.

    Fuel subsidy will soon be removed, so I am guessing the price of diesel, kero and petrol will go up. Already college fees are going up, the toll will make food and transportation very expensive for most people. Soon Lagos, which by the way is already one of the most expensive cities in the world, will become unbearable for the middle class.
    Ultimately the frustration will be vented on the administration. What the gov should have done was reduced the toll but extend the 30 years BOT deal so LCC can make their money back too. Tinubu can wait to recover his investment he has made so much money from Lagos that his future generation will never be poor; he should put the people first for once. With this solution at least everyone wins.
    Yes, tolls are essential. In my city here in FL, you will get tolled on our major hwys. But they started small 25 cents , and after two decades it has only just gotten to a dollar, the FL Turnpike is not factored in here. But at least they use the toll to re-invest in more infrastructures.
    I empathize with Fashola, Lagos is small and it is teeming with people and more people continue to migrate there, I don’t know how on the long term the many issues of this already over populated city can be resolved…taxes, tolls or toil.

    • OloladeB

      December 19, 2011 at 7:21 pm

      |My dear. I say this with every strength of emotion, This Asiwaju in question can amass all the wealth for his generations to come, but I know it will not be well with him. He will not have any generation to pass wealth unto.

    • Yemmy

      December 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      @MelonX, Ireally like your comment and example of FL. Simply put, Fashola and Tinubu are denying Lekki residence and indegens thier right to life. The tolled road is the only entry and exit point between Victoria Island and Epe, they should at make the coaster road motorable and stop claiming to have provided an alternative route which is within ”oniru estate”. They also need to reduce the toll fare to N50/car and still realise the cost in less than 10years, rather than 30years contract signed with LCC. We shall survive

  14. doll

    December 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    it is a very very sad development. whose bright idea was this?

    You put three toll gate within 22km of one local Government

    Forget tghe Lekki phase on people, like you said what of the awoyaya people, what of the akande people?

    What have we done on this axis to deserve this double taxation?

    is this the first place in lagos that road would be constructed?

    Dont we pay our normal tax

    God pass them all

  15. cent

    December 19, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    its completely appalling the way d govt handled tins. i only got to knw about it when pips started tweeting it dat morning. it ridiculous the way human rights are been violated on a daily basic. i say you every Nigerian dere on that day was brave not stupid. i only wish i was dere myself even if i don’t leave there. This is just the beginning, d govt can’t get away with quelling and oppressing tax paying citizens.

  16. tamarind

    December 19, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    we need to vote ACN Party out of office in the next coming elections. It will go a long way in teaching these kinds of people a hard lesson on how not to treat Lagosians next time. VOTE ACN OUT!

  17. tola

    December 19, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    i will advise that we all exercise patience.looking at thelevel of work that has been done on that road,its indeed a project to be applauded .am saying this because several times i as a road user have enjoyed free assistance when my car overheated on that road .i was so impresssed with the level of professionalism and my car was towed at NO COST! People am sure if that situation had happened to me on 3rd mainland,apogbon, marina, or ikorodu road i might have been robbed silly.i believe it will take a little getting used too but God will see us through.i heard the Lagos Badagry xpressway will be tolled as well on completion.really if we will get good value for our money,safer roads,and death free roads,then lets support this as much as we can.though i wont mind a reduction in the tarrif.lol.

    • OloladeB

      December 19, 2011 at 7:25 pm

      You got lucky mr man/mrs woman. It is selfish for you to think LCC is nice because your vehicle got towed for free. How many residents of Eti-Osa – Ibeju Lekki that this toll affects drive? When that road was first constructed by Jakande, it was as smooth as it is now. It is not rocket science to construct a smooth road! The question is “Why inflict further suffering on people living there, based on the fact that you think/assume they can afford it???”

  18. OloladeB

    December 19, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    I think its utter rubbish! Its crazy to toll a stretch of road at three points! I advise governor Amosun to take charge of Ogun state, I might have to relocate. If He can develop Ogun state to a decent level, and learn from the Tinunbu/Fashola errors and disregard for the masses, then am sure Ogun would be a better state to reside in.

  19. kokomaster

    December 19, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Hi it is not advice able for Fashola not to start the toll,na want make them collect governor position frm him ….means impeachment. gbam

  20. Mogs

    December 19, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    @ Ronnie, ur comment is very backward and ignorant. What priorities do we have wrong? Standing up for our rights? So the protest would have been justifiable if they were poor people? We need to start from somewhere and it’s about time we start standing up for ourselves. The government knows anything goes with us that is why they can implement anything and know we will not complain. I am so proud of these people and i pray more of us will the guts to stand up and say No.

  21. Gozie

    December 19, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    While I understand the plight of the people that live in Lekki, I think the timing of this protest is a little too late. When the consultation started people should have said no (if there was 1, I assume so). When the roads where being constructed people too should have protested and sat in. Now after the road has been built and in use we start to protest. I dont know whose responsibility it is to build roads but I assume that it is that of the Ministry of Works and Housing? If that road wasn’t expanded through Private initiative it wont have been built. The residents of Lekki can afford to pay a tax of N10,000/month considering the price they pay for rent. The only time I think this protest would have made sense would have been before as mentioned above or if the road fails into disrepair. Now isn’t the time to complain. Remember good infrastructure comes at a price, if the Federal Governmet wont step up then the private sector must.

  22. jcsgrl

    December 19, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Commrades! I salute you for your bravery. May God continue to give us the grace and resolution to stand up against oppression, injustice, and selfishness in our country.

  23. Lamzy

    December 19, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Excuse u Tola,isn’t it d same road okadas,salon cars,jeeps n trucks ply,y must der b different prices 4 ur kind of car?
    We waited patiently for dem 2 fix jst 1 jst 1!lane n dint get home until 1am.we pay our taxes.y must fasola allow dis 2 happen,he has really messed up dis time.
    D road is a lot better nw,yes but y d toll gate,y don’t u put a toll gate at oshodi?for Christ sake its jst a 22km road n we av 3 toll gates!120 each at every tollgate on one trip…dats a joke.
    We say no 2 toll gate on d lekki axis!

  24. partyrider

    December 19, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    I’m not in Lagos, but i heard the road+toll was constructed to reduce traffic (correct me if i am wrong). but now that the traffic has increased and the tariff is HIGH – #winning or #notwinning?

  25. Truth

    December 20, 2011 at 12:50 am

    There is nothing to get used to. I suppose you dont live in the Lekki Axis. There is no where in civilised countries that have more than one toll gate in the same area. Even in the UK, a toll gate only exists between major parts eg England and Wales. This is robbery and against human rights. The people have a right to complain about what they believe is not right. The United Nations should get involved in this matter. I will personally write letters to foreign media companies and governing bodies. Shine your eyes those in support: the roads where reconstructed all the way to the Ozumba Mbadiwe area, why were the toll gates purposely put before Lekki….to rob those they think are rich. Why start on the 18th of December…because its the Festive Season.

    • Ovadje

      December 20, 2011 at 3:20 pm

      Truth, the world does not begin and end in the UK (and I realize for certain Nigerians it does…lol), which btw has its own tolled roads and bridges. It’s obvious that you have never been anywhere near New Jersey, where tolled highways are more the norm than the exception. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, there are tolled roads in South Africa (as well as in Morroco, up North).

  26. ChooseYourBattles

    December 20, 2011 at 4:21 am

    I think you were both very brave as well as very stupid to have attended the protest; especially with your wife. I suspect that you have no kids as that would’ve been doubly stupid.
    This is not to mention that you are probably rather uninformed as to the modes of infrastructural development the world over. Thinking that you were really laying a good example, you energies were definitely misplaced. (the bright side though is that you came out with a more than half decent journalistic piece… a rarity in Nigerian journalism… thanks I thoroughly enjoyed it)

    Parting nugget: The road was made, someone must pay for it; guess who? Oooh you’re smart— it’s you and I. There is no free lunch! #reality-check

    • PHILLIPST

      December 20, 2011 at 12:08 pm

      Dude or Chick, whichever, no one is delusional, lets get something straight, infrastructural development costs money agreed but for christ sakes’wht den do we pay taxes for. think about it. Though I can probably guess ur answer OWAMBE PARTIES and sponsoring the ACN in other states.

  27. Tope

    December 20, 2011 at 8:51 am

    I was there and this write up is exactly spot on!!! It is exactly as it happened…a very sad day for democracy…and for all of you in support of this toll get informed…three tolls on one road, sky high tariffs, no alternate routes…oh and get this…the link bridge from lekki to ikoyi under construction is also gonna be tolled…no other area in lagos is going through this and they’re getting good roads…what have lekki residents done to Lagos State???… enough is enough…we pay crazy taxes in Lagos…no water, no light, no education for our children, no nothing!!! Only frigging christmas decorations run by generators!!!! LOL… and now we have to pay just to leave our homes…spend 3-4 hrs in traffic and pay the government on top it all!!!! SMH!!! Man-o-man i have some choice words for those who dreamt this up!!!

    And before you all start comparing with other countries; yes, tolls are sometimes needed to finance development but how they work is at a meager cost to the public…they are infrastructure projects hence the payback is supossed to take longer…lower tariffs and longer payback for the investors..thats why they issue 25-30 year concessions..so its not a “shock” to the system/people. That is clearly not the case here!!!! and three tolls!!!!! Haba!!! Ki lo de!!!

  28. ChooseYourBattles_is_A_Dunce

    December 20, 2011 at 9:06 am

    and that’s all i have to say

  29. Sairayo

    December 20, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Gov Fashola needs to be reminded that sincerity of purpose is the key to a blessed posterity. He seems bent on undoing all the good he has been praised for. He should remember that Ghaddaffi started out ‘good’ too, but when his allegiance veered from the people, his end was shameful. Fashola’s mandate is to serve the people of Lagos State, (the Lekki axis inclusive). It seems his allegiance is to LCC and Tinubu over and above the masses who God put him there to serve. It is a shame that he is not learning from the experience of those who have gone before.

  30. Gidi

    December 20, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Nigerians have gotten so used to bad leadership that when a seemingly good one shows up they deify him.
    Most folks are just struggling to see any thing wrong in this Lekki project because they can’t imagine BRF doing wrong. Imagine if this was done by OGD or Akala or Ibori?
    This whole project smells so fishy that it is obvious something is wrong. Any sane person can smell it.
    In an area where there is no govt presence whatsoever (Lekki residents generate power for themselves, build their own roads, provide water,security etc and most residents pay over 25% tax), you then add a lane or two to an existing road and slam three tolls on it.despite being the area that probably contributes the most to its income, whether personal income tax, land use charges, or whatever. Nothing is happening in that axis. 90% of anything going on in Lekki has been private development. Even amongst thieves,you expect some honour! Does the govt have no shame?
    Those screaming ‘no free lunch!’, Why did they not use PPP for rehabilitating Bourdillon road? Was this project adveritsed publicly and where is the proof that LCC won a free and fair tender? 30 years concessionaire for rehabilitating an existing road?? how many years will they give them for a brand new road?
    the govt just seems to have let LCC have both the yam and the knife,it is just not funny. It is true that there is no decent alternative (damn the PDP) but this robbery cannot and should not stand.

  31. bimpe

    December 20, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Thank you so much T.J Okaro for this post.
    Since there is freedom of expression and information,why don’t you send this story in with the photographs you have and more to our National dailies and maybe I-report on CNN or another International New agency? maybe when our dirty linen is seen outside, the authorities will take note. A big shout out to you all that left the comfort of your homes to be part of this protest.

  32. Tyna

    December 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Nice TJ!…Aww, the missus was fab!! Nothing like finally getting off twitter and doing something! If we don’t stand up for ourselves, no one will!

  33. PHILLIPST

    December 20, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    I WAS NT PRESENT AT THE PEACEFUL PROTEST. BUT TO EVERYONE WHO WS, I SAY THANK U AND THANK U AND THANK U MANY TIMES OVER. MAYBE THE TOLLING WOULD STOP BUT BELIEVE ME THIS WAS A MAJOR VICTORY

  34. bcgeorge

    December 20, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    well done TJ….I’m feeling fine my man.

  35. lojo

    December 20, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Sadly BRF is a man i respect soo much, but this action is utterly appalling and unjust…. And the truth be told he hasnt shown himself any better than his predeccessors. A government built the current 3rd mainland bridge which is probably 4 times longer than the lekki road, why didnt the request for tolls. what then is the responsibility of the government. why then are we being asked to pay taxes. I think there should be a Tax Strike since we all are currently LGA in our respective capacities. I know most Lekki residents are Business owners, Lets begin a Tax Strike and see if BRF, the ACN and the whole lot can close down all the businesses in lagos or along that route…. At least they cant send thugs to beat you up for that….

  36. Tayo

    December 20, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    I live in Lekki, and once I got to “three bus loads of protesters joined us…” I quit reading.

    Tolls are a USAGE tax. In other words, if you do not USE the road, you do not have to pay the toll. As I said, I live in Lekki and the Lord knows that personally I would rather pay the less than $1 toll (and less than 50 cents for buses) to get home quickly (and I believe the traffic will eventually ease once they work the kinks out) than be stuck for “free” (discounting the damage to one’s car on our usual roads, the gasoline wasted stalled in traffic, the appointments missed, ecectra) in our usual un-tolled roads. Someone borrows money from the banks to build a nice modern airport, we Nigerians refuse to pay service charges to maintain it. Now, someone else borrows money to build a nice road (and anyone who thinks it’s a mere “expansion” of the Jakande-built road is simply delusional). Abeg, anyone who wants a free road can take the alternative route through Oniru — and please quit bringing busloads of rent-a-protesters to disturb us.

  37. Timma

    December 20, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    I believe the issue is not the toll per say but the high amount being collected as toll. Well done guys, i believe it will be sorted out eventually, our police should go for more training as they do not have a clue on what peaceful protest is all about.

  38. Nnamdi Okosieme

    December 20, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Thank you sir, for standing up for what you believe in-and more thank you to your wife for the support and encouragement. it is not often that we see a family risking everything for principle. You both could have been killed and that would have meant an end of the family if you do not have children or a lifetime of hardship for your offspring if you have. God bless you.

  39. Truth

    December 20, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Ovadje,the world doesnt end with New Jersey either. Its most likely a bigger city than Lagos. Your comment is very off point. I made a simple comparison of what i know and believe to be decent. How fair is to charge people that live in Ajah toll gate fees twice? They have to be charged there and Lekki. I suppose you definetly dont live in those areas.

  40. sisieko

    December 21, 2011 at 7:26 am

    I know everyone has a right to their opinions but some people here are so clueless. Ignorants fools. 1 chap even went as low as bringing religious differences to it, for saying that muslims are better revolutionists because of their callous nature(or something amounting to that). That statement deserves a slap…….true! And to those of u who say we have bigger problems- all comes down to 1 thing, WE NEED A REVOLUTION!!! In a less advanced country in Nigeria, MORE lives will be lost, properties n facilities destroyed. However, it will bring a paradigm to the way we are governed here and in all other parts of Africa. A lot of us youths are impoverished( it may be the Nig thing to suck it in n rise above it) And then we are angry. Just observe past your immediate cozy environment, posh cars,designer clothes, vacations abroad and what not. today is Lekki toll, tmao, u never know………it may not even be in 10yrs but in 5yrs. Lol. But we are certainly imbibing the culture of revolting against unscrupulous government. Sprint! So your children can fly. Oh! How I wish someone will educate The Boko Haram Sect differently. BN pls post

    • Missy

      December 21, 2011 at 10:30 am

      My dear, you have just captured my thoughts! Thank you!!!!

  41. Debby

    December 21, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Hmm…… dis is a serious matter o! govt decided to give us just 0.1% of our supposed to be social amenities and they have decided again to syphon frm the 0.1% given us! How do we survive? ore/benin has claimed several lifes, yr to yr, nothing is done and yet dey are mounting tolls on one small road they managed to construct. Fashola n co. God dey oo!

  42. A little will go a long way

    December 21, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I have read just a few of the above comments, but i must add my views briskly.
    Ofcourse, we the youths are open to development, and yes, we praise Fashola for his revolutionary sight for development in this part of Nigeria. But truth be told, where in the world is there an intra-city toll gate. I am 27 years old, and i have been to major countries in all the continents of the world…YES, and in all these major countries, i have rented cars and also transported myself by train, and i can authoritatively say, this tolling system in Lagos isunwarranted and falsely intended.
    Fine these tolls are already being built, why should they be so expensive, especially for routes being used on a minimum 2ce daily by 1 individual.
    Abroad, you have the option of taken the Intercity Highway or a longer [but good road as well] coastal or city road.
    150naira might seem less than a $, but standard of living here is different from in the US. the average Nigerian must be considered. $1 is the barest minimum in the US for an average citizen to pay as toll, but not so in Nigeria.
    E.g, the plantain chip hawker in traffic makes 500naira daily from running around in traffic. From this same 500naira, he feeds, transports and clothes, etc.
    The esence of all these examples, are just to say that if the toll gates are to become functional for 30 consecutive years, the amounts being charged with the intra-city concept is overboard. The rates should be between 5naira – 30naira [From cars to trucks]. Just imagine how many times one car withh drive this routes/toll gates.

    Peace & Luv.

    • Tayo

      December 21, 2011 at 7:31 pm

      Eh… If you are searching for an intra-city toll road, you need look further than Singapore. and they are richer (and er…more “civilsed”) than we are.

  43. Olu

    December 21, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    I am shocked that some people will even consider paying 1 kobo on this road. This is a blatant rape on the people and Lagosians are accepting it. We are the most gullible people in the World!!! For a toll to be applied on a road, there must be an alternative route first. For example before the Lagos Ibadan express was built, you could still go to Ibadan via Abeokuta. Same way you could go to Ijebu via ikorodu and from ijebu there is old ondo road to ondo. So if you want to avoid toll, you have a choice. I live in UK and Nigeria and all tools in UK are alternative routes from usual routes that were built by Gov. Birmingham toll gives you an option to avoid the city route with traffic. Dartford crossing gives you an option to avoid going through London traffic.

    The road in question is a road that should have been fixed by Government. Even if they merely fixed the road as is as 2 lanes and mandate LCC to build their own road using the coastal route along the beaches with toll, no one will complain because we have a normal route and an alternative with toll for those that can afford it and wants to beat traffic. But they won’t do that because it will cost them more, they will rather put some little tar on a road already in existence and charge people for it to make money. I took a picture of a road construction between Cambridge and Milton Keynes and the contrast between the depth of the road with what the so called LCC guys are doing is massive. It’s 4 time deeper than what they are doing in Lagos and yet they will claim it’s more expensive.

    I will support toll between admiralty way and Ikoyi because we have a normal route and if you want to beat traffic pay toll on the bridge. But not on a single road that links the entire Lekki community. so it’s now a sin to be born and bread in one village along Lekki axis.

    Conclusion: The toll should be abolished completely and tell them to build the coastal road if they want to charge toll. WAKE UP SLEEPING LAGOSIANS

  44. Yinka

    December 21, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    This is classical Nigerian Stupidity. You build and live in a 150 Million Naira house BUT refuse to pay 150 naira toll. This is now the time when all nigerians will claim to earn 18,000 per month. The degeneration of our country into a welfare state does not justify us from ruining it for good. The country is sinking and , for once, you have a good governor that is making it right and all of you are persecuting him. The only way forward for Nigeria is to allow market forces and proper taxation to reign and lift us all out of poverty and nothingness

    • Tope

      December 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm

      Errmmm Yinka…take a trip down the lekki axis (up to Epe!!!) and you’ll see that most of the people there living well below the poverty line…yes there are a few high income estates here and there on that peninsula..but dont get it twisted…lekki is a poor area…and the farther you go out the poorer…which makes this three toll thing stupid because the poorer folks will get tolled two or three times and the lekki phase one folks which the focus is on as the “rich area” will get tolled just once.

    • peejay

      December 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm

      Dear Yinka, I think you are missing the point. When the government decides to provide such infrastructure that requires us to pay a certain amount as toll fees, properly constructed alternative routes are provided for those who do not wish to pay. You cannot force everyone to pay. that move or decision in itself is unlawful. Secondly, you must realize that there a more people living in the Lekki corridor who do not earn as much as you think. simply because a handful of individuals build multi million naira homes there does not mean that there aren’t so many others who are living below average. thirdly, you have to look at the nature of this project: there are three toll gates in Lekki – it is prepostruous. totally unbelieveable and there are no alternative routes or railway lines for those who do not wish to use the road. The Lagos State Government is the SILENT VILLAIN here. The contract clearly states that while LCC is rebuilding the Lekki Epe expressway, the Lagos State Government will provide Coastal Defense Works and build the Coastal Road from Oniru down to Lekki Free Trade zone. the question is this: WHERE IS THE ALTERNATIVE ROUTE or COASTAL ROAD the LASG is suppossed to build? Who is fooling who?

    • Sam Pam

      December 22, 2011 at 9:56 am

      You live in Lekki so why are you using $ and converting Naira to $. I think you are a Fashola apologist. You see nothing wrong with putting 3 tollgates on a 50 km road without feasible alternatives.

      Okay what about the gateman, the plumber, the police man who has to work in Ajah/lekki. Does he live in a 150 million Naira house? Your logic is flawed. The government should have built that road with tax revenue. They should have made an alternative road if they wanted to put a toll.

  45. Yemmy

    December 21, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    @MelonX, I really like your comment and example of FL. Simply put, Fashola and Tinubu are denying Lekki residence and indigenes their right to life. The tolled road is the only entry and exit point between Victoria Island and Epe, they should at make the coaster road motor able and stop claiming to have provided an alternative route which is within ”oniru estate”. They also need to reduce the toll fare to N50/car and still realize the cost in less than 10years, rather than 30years contract signed with LCC. We shall survive

  46. jjjuu

    December 21, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Jakande built that road for free LCC added just one lane and they want to collect money for the three lanes……chei

  47. AJCiti

    December 23, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    I must say the ppl who took part in this protest are BRAVE. This is a small victory, I hope this will encourage more action against the government.

  48. Pingback: Chronicles of Lagos Part 1: Making Up for Lost Times |

  49. kayode

    February 15, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Toll Gate is part of GLOBAL TREND,
    Lekki youth Initative NOTHING COMES FREE,
    Not even Toll Gate,
    Lekki Youth Initiative.
    Support Toll Gate.
    Eko o ni baje

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