14th February, 2018
We of the Lagos State Chapter of the Socialist Party of Nigeria express our solidarity with the Friday, 9th February, 2018 mass action organized by the Anti-Lekki Tolling Movement of the Eti-Osa Development Forum against the unjust and arbitrary hike in toll fees collected by the Lekki Concession Consortium, the concessionaire company and partner of the Lagos State Government in the concessioning of the 42 kilometre Lekki-Epe expressway. It will be recalled that on the 1st day of February, 2018, the duo of the anti-masses All Progressives Congress-led Lagos State Government and the fat-cat Lekki Concession Consortium slammed a unilateral, unbearable and astronomical increment of the obnoxious tolls on the mass of residents of the Lekki metropolis.
We condemn in strongest terms the attempt of both the outrightly savage Lekki Concession Consortium and the anti-masses All Progressives Congress-led Lagos State Government to discredit the genuine struggle of residents of the Eti-Osa cosmopolitan area. We condemn the sponsorship of thugs and hoodlums to attack the peaceful mass protest of innocent Nigerians. We call on the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command and the Area Commander, Area “J” Command Headquarters, Ajah, Lagos State to speedily arraign the arrested hoodlums who attacked peaceful protesters and law-abiding journalists who were on their lawful duty of covering the mass protest.
We view the latest increase of the tolls as a confirmation of our longstanding position that the outright neo-liberal private concessioning of public roads to private profiteers is an anti-poor and pro-rich capitalist agenda that will blow no good. We hold that despite the concessioning of the 42 kilometre expressway which was built with public funds by the erstwhile Lateef Jakande regime of Lagos State Government, two toll gates have been imposed and less than 50 percent of the expressway is motorable.
We are in support of the demands of the Anti-Lekki Tolling Movement’s demand for the total cancellation of the two tolling centres, both the Lekki Bridge Toll Gate and the Admiralty Plaza Toll Gate. We also support the demand of the Movement for an independent financial audit of the Lekki Concession Consortium from inception till date vis-à-vis a review of current status of Lagos State Government in relation to Lekki Concession Consortium with the re-purchasing of the concessioning agreement in 2013. We also demand the constitution of an independent panel of stakeholders including but not limited to representatives of Anti-Lekki Tolling Movement and Eti-Osa Development Forum in the panel.
We are quick to add that the Anti-Lekki Tolling Movement must add to its charter of demands the demand for revocation of the concessioning agreement without further delay. We also call for the upgrading and completion of the entire Lekki-Epe expressway with motorable internal roads and proper drainage.
We want to submit that in order for us to win these demands, we must be prepared to build sustained mass actions until victory. While we welcome the plan for another mass action with occupation on Friday, 23rd February, 2018 by 8am tagged #OperationBringYourMatandSleepattheTollGate, we are of the view that there is need for MASS MEETINGS to be convened across communities in the Lekki Metropolis to discuss how to build and sustain the mass actions. We hold that it is within the democratic forum of the mass meetings that the issues of the printing of fliers, stickers and souvenirs, continuous media mobilization and other logistics to win the struggle can be democratically discussed and finance also collectively planned.
We are of the view that our collective struggle can only find a lasting victory if it is linked to the struggle for a democratic, egalitarian and socialist working people’s framework of governance as against the anti-masses, wherein the resources of society would be democratically discussed and disbursed to meet the essential needs of all including but not limited to all public roads as against the pro-profiteers’ neo-liberal model being exercised by the All-Progressives’ Congress Lagos State Government which subjects the mass of the people to double extortion, first through multiple unjustifiable taxation and daily road tolls’ payment. We of the Socialist Party of Nigeria defend this political programme and when elected to power would run governance on this basis and we urge all that are genuinely dissatisfied with the current maladjusted framework to join the Socialist Party of Nigeria today.