Lagos- The Alliance for Democracy (AD) on Thursday, threatened to go to court if the Lagos State Government went ahead with the planned toll on the newly constructed Lekki/Ikoyi Bridge.
In a statement, the Lagos State Chairman of the Party, Kola Ajayi issued a two week ultimatum to the state government to retrace its steps on the planned toll failing which the party would go to court.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while commissioning the bridge on May 29, Gov. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) announced that the bridge would be tolled.
But the Lagos State House of Assembly, on May 28, resolved that state government should not commence immediate toll collection on the controversial bridge until it passed the bill on it into law.
The bill sent in by the Lagos State government requested the endorsement of the House to introduce a toll system on the bridge.
Ajayi however demanded that the state should immediately withdraw the private concession on the bridge and instead train and employ the qualified youths of Lagos to provide the collection service.
According to him, AD complaints centers on the suspicion that some vested interests are trying to make business out of what is routine government infrastructure service to the public.
"That bridge is built with Lagos tax-payer's money and federal allocations to Lagos.
"AD will never allow any greedy vested interests to turn the public infrastructure service into their private money making business,’’ he said.
Ajayi stated that the state must disclose the people or real owners behind the concession company.
The ACN Lagos State Publicity Secretary, Joe Igbokwe said that the toll was inevitable because the company that built the bridge under private, public partnership must collect back its money.
Igbokwe, however, explained that Lagos State had so many projects to do but lacked the funds.
"Most of the projects, especially roads were financed solely by the state government.
"There are too many demands for road construction that must be met hence the use of the PPP for the Lekki/Ikoyi project.
"When the private partner came in to handle the bridge project, it made it possible for the state to use funds for that single project for many other roads" he said.
He said that "there are alternative routes for people who do not want to use the bridge to take.
"The bridge is a great and highly commendable project that was aimed at reducing discomfort and wear and tear on users of roads in the area.
"By spending little money to use the bridge, people save themselves the stress of heavy traffic on Ozumba Mbadiwe/Lekki axis.
"With the bridge, moving from Lekki to Ikoyi via Queens drive will take about five minutes.
"The use of the bridge is not by force and so we stand by the state because such good projects are necessary to decongest traffic in the metropolis,’’ he added.
Igbokwe stresses that the PPP the world over was a way of enhancing development.