20th December, 2011
The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Lagos Chapter, on Monday threw its weight behind the toll system introduced on the Lekki/Epe Expressway in Lagos by the state government.
The CNPP lauded the initiative as protests continued to trail the collection of tolls, which started on 16 December.
Addressing newsmen in Lagos, the state chairman of the CNPP, Mr Akinola Obadia, said the toll issue had become unduly politicised.
â€œThere is over dramatisation in this issue with the argument tilting towards a partisanship tendency, rather than being level-headed, clear thinking and principle based,â€ he said.
Obadia said the CNPP was aware of the need not to over-burden residents and travellers on the road.
â€œOur concern, however, must be balanced with the need for our citizens to be socially responsible by paying their dues toward community development,â€ he said.
Obadia said there was need to show commitment and understanding to the toll system in question, given its international dimension.
He said that it was a world class infrastructure provided with private investor funds, in line with international financial regulations, from both state and federal governments.
Obadia said that defaulting on such agreement could project Nigeria as a country where legally documented obligations were not honoured.
The CNPP Chairman said such an impression could have serious implications on the nationâ€™s capacity to attract foreign investors.
He commended the palliative measure of an alternative route put in place by the state government in response to the yearnings of the road users.
Obadia said the road concession, which was based on the principle of Build Operate and Transfer (BOT), was standard global practice.
â€œThe Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is under a concession arrangement by the Federal Government to Bi-Courtney Company.
â€œThe Federal Government is planning to introduce the arrangement of toll payment on all federal highways come January 2012,â€ he said.
Obadia appealed to residents of Lekki, and everyone affected by the toll-gate to bear with the government and avoid protests that could adversely affect peace.