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Lagos Assembly Raises Concern On LCC Operations

Source: BABATOLA MICHAEL - thewillnigeria.com
PHOTO: ONE OF THE LEKKI TOLL PLAZAS.
PHOTO: ONE OF THE LEKKI TOLL PLAZAS.

LAGOS, Sept 02, (THEWILL) - Lagos State House of Assembly today raised concern over the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) operations as the administration of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) failed to set up a board to monitor and supervise LCC activities as indicated in the 2004 Bridges, Roads and Highway Infrastructure (Private Sector Participation) Development Board Law.

This was expressed in a report of the House Ad-hoc Committee on Lekki-Epe Expressway Expansion Project, which recommended that the state government as a matter of urgency, constitute the board for Lagos State Roads, Bridges, and Highway Infrastructure (Private Sector Participation) Development Board Law, 2004, to monitor LCC activities.

The committee, headed by Dr. M.A. Balogun, also recommended that the state government should review the concession agreement with the Lekki Concession Company with a view to making the project more acceptable to the people and residents of the state.

The report, titled "Our Urgent Review of the Concession Agreement or its Outright Revocation", contains 26 recommendations bordering on the need for the Lekki Concession Company and Lagos State Government to make few adjustments to make the project acceptable to the people.

In the 12-page report, the committee added that the Fashola administration should "Urgently consider reviewing the concession agreement by shifting the third Toll Plaza located at the 23 km on the Lekki-Epe Expressway in Eti-Osa Local Government to possibly 35 km in the Ibeju-Lekki Local Government."

The committee directed the Lekki Concession Company to "furnish the Assembly with detailed particulars of users’ exemption from toll payment as enunciated in the concession agreement.

"The Assembly should look into the state Roads, Bridges, and Infrastructure (Private Sector Participation) Development Board Law with a view to amending the law in order to allow future concession agreements signed in accordance with section 6 (7) to be subject to the ratification of the Assembly.

"The state government should urgently consider the payment of compensation on land acquired along Lekki-Epe Expressway to the affected families, particularly around the second Toll Plaza. It should also expedite action on the construction of alternatives or access roads as stipulated in the concession agreement in order to ease the movement of the people.

"The state government should ensure that the rights of way are free from all encumbrances to enable Lekki Concession Company complete the project on time. The company should expedite action on the implementation of the Side Agreement signed with the Lagos State Government in December 2009 in order to provide alternative route free from tolling around the second Toll Plaza," the committee recommended.

The report of the committee indeed baffled Honourable Solomon Adeola (Alimosho Constituency). "That law was passed by this House specifically because of this project and if the board has not been constituted since 2004, who has been talking to the LCCI on government’s behalf?" he asked.

Similarly, Adedoyin Adeniyi, the minority leader said, "this is very important so as to protect the interest of our people because it means there is no regulatory body monitoring all the PPP projects in the state."

However, Kolawole Taiwo, the majority leader defended the non-composition of the board. "The reason the board was not set up is because of the deficiency in the law. It was created for one purpose and cannot be used for other PPP agreements."

He said the PPP bill currently before the House will better solve the committee’s recommendations that future concession agreement should be made subject to legislative approval.

But Adeola was not satisfied, saying, "If we have already a PSP law that is not functioning, how are we sure the PPP law will function as expected?"

Speaker of the Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji urged all parties to be cautious because "if the project fails, the entire black African countries should forget about international funding of PPP projects. We are sitting on a keg of gunpowder. We pray it does not explode."