Ahead of the one year anniversary of #EndSARS protest, Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju (rtd), former GOC Third Armored Division and a trustee of Omo Eko Pataki, has advised Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State to remove the toll booths on the Admiralty Circle and the Lekki-Ikoyi toll gates.
Olanrewaju in a press statement on Monday said that the toll gates are objects of aversion among commuters and motorists, stressing that 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 to bring back the toll gates which no doubt will add to the economic misfortunes of the people.
The statement reads, “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, while motorists often collapse in the heat and emission of choking carbon monoxide.
“The Lekki axis is an unplanned increasingly growing city with only one exit and one entrance. There is hardly any manufacturing plant or major industries here, save vast estates and various residential abodes.
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 is that the road is perpetually clogged, entrapping motorists in a permanent gridlock thereby creating opportunities for roving robbers and outlaws to rob commuters and motorists at will,” he said.
He said that Sanwo-Olu must avoid shedding of blood of the youths on the streets of Lagos. “The stopping of the street urchins and gang warfare at the least provocation requires strong and effective policing,” he said.
The retired general further advised that Lagos State should use the billions already generated from over 12 years of toll collection to build alternative roads to alleviate the pains of commuting on the Lekki axis.
“The long proposed Fourth Mainland Bridge and the seemingly abandoned Metro line which Babatunde 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 entrepreneur 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,” he said.
While urging Sanwo-Olu to take his advice for enduring peace and genuine reconciliation, Olanrewaju said, “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.”