By Gabriel Olawale
FORMER Communications Minister, Maj. Gen. Tajudeen Olanrewaju (retd), on Monday, urged the Lagos State to jettison any plan to reintroduce toll gates in Lekki.
Olanrewaju, in a statement titled: ‘Lessons of Endsars: A Year After’, urged the state government to use money generated from over 12 years of toll collection to build alternative roads to alleviate the pains and anguish of commuting on the Lekki axis.
The statement reads: “At a time of great economic crisis when the rich and the poor are feeling the harshness of a depressed economy, it will be insensitive and wrong to bring back the toll gates which no doubt will add to the economic misfortunes of our people.
“Transporters will increase their fares; Traffic gridlocks will return, stretching from Ozumba Mbadiwe to Ajah and from Alexander in Ikoyi backing up to the Third mainland bridge. Man hours will be wasted. So I hereby appeal to the Lagos state government to remove the toll booths on both the Admiralty Circle and the Lekki -Ikoyi toll gates.
“Lagos is about the only major metropolis on earth where there are two intra-city toll gates. Toll gates are often placed between cities. The danger here is that the road is perpetually clogged, entrapping motorists in a permanent gridlock thereby creating opportunities for roving robbers and outlaws who rob both commuters and motorists at will.
“Personally as one who has been part of the Nigerian journey both in times of peace and war, having served my nation at the highest echelon of my profession as GOC Third Armored Division and as a member of the Provisional Ruling Council – the most significant lesson to me is the unity of our nation and the issue of peace. No nation can thrive in chaos. And nothing meaningful can be achieved through violence.
“I fought in the Nigerian civil war and I know that the recourse to violence is an harbinger of ruin and destruction. It should never happen again. In this wise, as a Patriot and a Stakeholder in the Nigerian project my advice to the Lagos state government is to ensure endurance of peace and genuine reconciliation among all Nigerians who dwell in Lagos State.
“The long proposed Fourth Mainland Bridge and the seemingly abandoned Metroline which Fashola started should be resuscitated to open the Lekki corridor.
“Government can also establish a build, operate and transfer arrangement with the Dangote Refinery or any other major entrepreneurs to construct the Atlantic highway which was once proposed during the military. All these will definitely remove the present chaotic traffic on the single entrance and exit Lekki- Epe corridor.
“Positive government intervention does not only engender economic growth and development but it invariably prevents the slip into destructive conflict and anarchy. The redeeming largeness of peace and equity is what we want in Lagos state and all parts of our nation. This is the time to redefine our vision towards this greater good.”