The group, in a statement on Sunday by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, called on the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, to take immediate steps to reverse the “unfair and discriminatory charges.”
SERAP said with the toll hike, the Lagos State Government ran the risk of “undermining public interest, democratic values, accountability, and opportunities for participation.”
It said, “This latest increase in toll at the Lekki-Epe Expressway and Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge toll gates is unacceptable, as it conflicts with the goals and commitment of the Lagos State Government to provide basic public services to citizens and residents.
“It seems the agreement between the Lagos State Government and the Lekki Concession Company is no longer serving the needs of citizens and residents.
“In the face of rising poverty and economic inequalities across the country, the Lagos State government should be considering eliminating toll charges rather than allowing the Lekki Concession Company to get away with overcharging citizens and residents and prioritising profits over the public interests.
“Unless the situation is satisfactorily resolved in the public interests, the government runs the risk of being viewed as beholden to special interests and out of touch with the public good.
“It’s time for Ambode to ensure and maintain a balance between the needs of the citizens and residents of Lagos State and the Lekki Concession Company.
“The authorities should respect and protect the right of protesters to demonstrate against the hike in toll charges and to voice their opinion.
“International human rights treaties ratified by Nigeria and the country´s own constitution obligate the government to safeguard the rights of freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.
“The hike shows how profit motive can conflict with public motive. Accountability principles require the government to ensure that the activities of the Lekki Concession Company align with the policies and activities of governance, and that the company is not allowed to exploit its monopoly position to charge excessive rates.”