Fashola's aides under fire on Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge toll

motorists on Lekki-Ikoyi bridge

Toll gate at Lekki-ikoyi bridge in Lagos. Motorists paying cash to pay N1,000 from Monday 20 January


It was a heated debate at the floor of the Lagos State House of Assembly on Thursday as members of the House openly disagreed with the executive arm of the State Government over the tolling of the newly commissioned Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge.

The House had last week invited the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye, his counterpart in the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Femi Hamzat, and the Special Adviser to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Public Private Partnership, Ayo Gbeleyi, for clarification on why the State Government would announce tolling on the bridge that was built with public funds.

At plenary, the three invited members could not convince the members on several questions asked by the lawmakers concerning the tolling of the bridge, how the government came about the amount and the reason why the government selected the Lagos Tolling Company, LTC, without due process.

While some members demanded for the identity of the tolling company, one of the lawmakers, Hakeem Masha wondered why the State Government could go ahead to secure the services of a tolling company when the project was not a public private partnership deal.

The Deputy Speaker also countered the State cabinet members who had informed the members that the tolling company is 100 percent indigenous. Slamming the government for seeking foreign companies, he reminded his colleagues that a South African company owned stakes in the company.

Motorists on Lekki-ikoyi bridge
Motorists on Lekki-ikoyi bridge
Kolawole further asked the trio to furnish the House with the length of the bridge and asked for the relationship between the bridge and the Lekki-Epe Expressway manned by the Lekki Concession Company that collects tolls on the road.

The Leader of the House, Dr. Ajibayo Adeyeye, said he was not comfortable with the clause that the tolling company would further share from the excess profit made from the tolling after getting 27 percent of the net toll revenue and another 20 percent of revenue from activities around the bridge like advertisements and use of right of way.

Defending government action, Ade Ipaye said it was a fair deal with the tolling company.

According to him, the government considered the amount the tolling company was investing in the tolling equipment and their maintenance.

He disclosed that the State Government and the company were relying on a forecast of the amount of traffic that would use the bridge and the amount to be derived from it. “Where the traffic is more than the pre-determined amount, that comes with special sharing,” he said.

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He further explained that the maintenance of the bridge would be done by Julius Berger which built it while the concessionaire would only concentrate on maintaining the tolling infrastructure.

He said the agreement between the government and the LTC involves that the government would augment where the company is able to generate enough revenue for the running of the business.

The Attorney-General however agreed that the contract agreement with the LTC had not been signed, but that the tolling had started “in principle.”

In this case, he said, if at any time the traffic on the bridge is not enough to maintain the tolling infrastructure, the government would intervene. He said this does not amount to a financial guarantee, but that it is close to indemnity as stipulated by the law.

On his part, Ayo Gbeleyi said the Lagos Tolling Company was set up for the purpose of receiving tolls on the bridge but added that the company is affiliated to a foreign company and it was picked because the government wanted something befitting of the status of the State.

He put the traffic forecast on the bridge at 17, 000 adding that the tolling company would be responsible for security and power on the bridge which length Mr. Hamzat put at 27, 200 square meters.

Explaining that the design life of the bridge is 50 years, he also said the toll amount is high to enable the government meet its agreement to compensate the Lekki Concession Company, LCC, for any infrastructure built 10-kilometer radius from the Lekki-Epe Expressway as contained in the non-compete clause of the contract between the government and the LCC.

Members of the House kicked against this with the Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, asking the executive to review that agreement. He wondered why the LCC qualified for the compensation when it has not completed its own contract.

The lawmakers also expressed disappointment with the executive after Mr. Gbeleyi informed them that the executive undertook a select tender in which it allowed only three companies to bid after which the LTC won.

Ipaye also said 10 years has been given the LTC to enable it recoup its investment and make profit.

As the debate became intense, the Speaker asked that the commissioners be asked to go while deliberations would continue at the executive session.

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