TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

LAWYER WANTS COURT TO STOP TOLL COLLECTION ON LAGOS-EPE EXPRESSWAY

By NBF News
Listen to article

WORRIED by the decision of Lekki Concession Company Limited (LCC) to begin collection of toll fees on the Lekki-Epe Expressway on January 3 despite a pending suit challenging the proposed collection at the High Court of Lagos, a Lagos-based lawyer and human rights activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa yesterday urged the court to restrain LCC from going ahead with the planned collection of toll fees.

In a motion filed at the court, Adegboruwa is seeking an interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants, their servants, officers, agents, banks, privies or otherwise howsoever from denying the claimant and all persons in Lagos State access to and use of any part or portion of the Lekki-Epe Expressway either for the purpose of collecting any fee, pending the hearing and final determination of the substantive suit.

Joined as defendants with LCC in the suit marked M/724/2010, are the Lagos State government, the Lagos State Works Management Board, the Attorney-General of Lagos State and Eti-Osa Local Council.

In the motion on notice brought under sections 15(3) (a) and 41 of the 1999 constitution; articles 12 and 13 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights; section 18 of the High Court Law of Lagos State; order 38 rules 1 and 4 of the high court of Lagos State civil procedure rules, 2004; order 39 rule 3 of the high court of Lagos State civil procedure rules, 2004, fundamental rights (enforcement procedure) rules 2009, inherent jurisdiction the court, Adegboruwa is seeking an order directing the parties to maintain the status quo ante bellum, that is, the situation prevailing as at the date of filing the suit pending the hearing and final determination of the substantive suit.

He is also seeking an order restraining the first defendant, its servants, officers, agents, banks, privies or otherwise howsoever from implementing, further implementing or giving effect or further giving effect to any concession agreement between it and the Lagos State government in so far as it relates to the collection of fee, toll, levy, tariff or other levy from the applicant or any other person for the use of any portion or part of the Lekki-Epe Expressway pending the hearing and final determination of the substantive suit.

The plaintiff is further seeking an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants, their servants, officers, agents, banks, privies or otherwise howsoever from denying the claimant and all persons in Lagos State access to and use of any part or portion of the Lekki-Epe Expressway either for the purpose of collecting any fee, toll, road tax or any other purpose whatsoever pending the hearing and final determination of the substantive suit.

It will be recalled that at the last adjourned date, the court and all parties in the matter had agreed to dispense with all interlocutory applications so that the court could hear the substantive originating summons on the merit, while the matter was then adjourned to January 20, 2011 for definite hearing.

The court also directed LCC and the Lagos State government to file their responses to the originating summons before the said date.

In the substantive suit filed in August 2010, Adegboruwa is challenging the attempt by the Lagos State government to impose toll fees on users of the Lekki-Epe Expressway.

The case could not be heard on time because of the long yearly vacation of the courts. The case was assigned to Justice Candide-Johnson of the High Court of Lagos State, Igbosere, Lagos.

He said: 'I know that several other roads and other infrastructures have been built by the Lagos State government without imposing the hardship of tolling and tariff on the people.

Private companies and organisations have also built roads and other infrastructures in Lagos State for the use of the general public without any tariff or toll, being performance of their social or statutory responsibilities.

'There is no road in Lagos State presently where toll fee is being collected by Lagos State or its agents or concessionaire in any manner whatsoever as residents and indigenes of other communities in Lagos State such as Ikeja, Surulere, Apapa, Ikorodu, Badagry, Agege, Kosofe, etc, are not being subjected to any form of toll fee or road tax by the Lagos State government for them to have free access to and use the roads built by the Lagos State government in such communities.'