Special Report | 20 December 2011 01:26 CET



The Fashola administration's increment of fees for Lagos State University (LASU) students and toll collection on the Lekki-Epe Expressway that commence on Sunday,December 18,2011,are still eliciting divergent reactions among concerned Nigerians,stakeholders, and activists.

Governor Babatunde Fashola had on November 14, this year, while presenting the 2012 Appropriation Bill to the Lagos State House of Assembly, disclosed that the state has so far spent N4 billion as compensation to the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) Limited for suspending toll collections on the road last year.

Investigation revealed that the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) Limited is allegedly owned by former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu.

Bola Tinubu is said to be quietly and stealthily perfecting a scheme that will transform the economy of South West states an extension of his business empire.

Asiwaju's business interests is said to span Real estates, Construction, Aviation, Hospitality and Communication.

The toll rates charged are as follows: Motorbikes - N50. Sedans - N120. Vans/small buses/Suvs - N150. Commercial buses - N80. Light trucks and two axle buses - N250. Heavy duty trucks - N350.

Mr. Simon Elisha a Lagos-based human resource consultant said “We are now in a country where we come out and are afraid of so many things, especially our security. We cannot even drive our cars because of what is happening now. I can't imagine myself going to the Island for example and I have to pay toll three times. When I am coming back, it has to be the same thing. I will pay N150 for tolling and it amounts to about N450 going to the Island alone; coming back, I think it is another N450. That means in a day, I am paying about N900 for tolling. If I forget something at home, I have to come back and pay again and it will be N1800 a day.

Findings revealed that Police shot rifles and fired tear gas at protesters who were demonstrating against toll roads on Saturday.

Two residents are said to be in critical condition following the police crackdown while 25 protesters were arrested and are being detained at the Force Criminal Investigation Department, Alagbon.

Police officers also used batons to assault an Associated Press photographer who was covering the event. His camera equipment was taken before he was thrown into the back of a police truck.

The photographer was released several hours later without charge, and was treated for blunt-force trauma injuries to his neck, shoulder and knee.

The protest rally led by the Chairman of the Lekki Phase 1, Residents Association, Chief Wole Akala with other members of the executives and hordes of protesters including residents, civil rights activists and student bodies in tow, began from Epe axis of Lagos in the early hours of Saturday.

The residents had mobilised men and materials including the Lekki Peninsula Phase 1 Residents Association Security Patrol vehicle with the plate number, XS611 BDG which they parked at strategic locations.

However, just as the protest was still gathering steam, a team of policemen apparently acting on the orders of their superiors, arrested Akala at the Lekki Phase 1 roundabout and drove him away in a Lagos State Environment Task Force Black-maria vehicle with plate number LA76 BA01.

While recalling the ordeal with the police, Mr. Ebun Adegboruwa, a member of the Lekki Resident Association, said: “We had already spread mats near the kerbs. We didn't go anywhere near the toll gate. There were thugs allegedly recruited by LCC who infiltrated our midst and began to beat up our members. And the police decided to seize the opportunity by firing live bullets into the air. And they started beating up our members. It was thereafter police started shooting live bullets into the crowd. Two of our members we are lying critically ill now. We don't know their fate as I speak to you.”

According to Adebgoruwa, “Right now, about 25 of our members have been arrested and taken to CID Panti, Yaba. We don't know whether they are going to charge them to court. They have kept them incommunicado without contact with their lawyers and family members.”

Among the journalists who had a raw deal with the policemen include a reporter with Channels TV, whose camera was destroyed while a reporter with LTV was beaten up and his camera seized. Mr. Suleiman Hussein, photographer with Compass had his camera seized by policemen.

An unconfirmed report however had it that one of the protesters whose identity was yet to be known suffered a fatal injury and bled to the death.

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.

In a recent chat with a celebrity blog,Kate Henshaw whom was also among protesters was quoted: 'If we are all thinking about safety then we will be quiet forever. If Mandela was thinking about safety then Jacob Zuma won't be there now. If you don't stand up for something, you'll fall for anything. I'm not doing this for myself; I'm doing it for my children. They can't just throw things our way and have us take it like that'.she said.

Lagosians It's high time you know your right because is like Tinubu and Fashola are intentionally impoverishing the people and mortgaging the future of Lagos State.

A word they say is enough for the wise

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