At a time when Nigerians and Lagosians alike are reeling under the weight of an economy on a tailspin, someone really thought it would be fantastic idea to increase toll fees at the Lekki-Ikoyi and Lekki-Epe routes.

Without sufficient notice and stakeholder engagement, the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) which controls both tolls, announced it will be jacking up its rates.

According to the notice, the new rates at the Admiralty Circle Plaza means motorcycles will be expected to pay N100; Salon cars and tricycles, N200; sport utility vehicles, N250; light trucks and 2-axle buses, N400; heavy duty trucks or buses with two or more heavy axles, N1000, and commercial danfo buses are expected to part with N150.

At the Link Bridge Plaza, motorcycles will pay N200; Salon cars, N300; mini vans sports utility vehicles and light trucks, N400; and light trucks and 2-axle buses will pay N1000.

If ever there was a steep increase in prices at the wrongest of times, this was it.

Because I work from the Lekki axis, I’m expected to part with N200 (I currently part with N120) at the Lekki-Epe toll and N300 at the link toll plaza (from N250). Meaning that if I shuttle to and from Lekki to the mainland daily like I often do in the course of work, I would have spent close to N3,000 on commuting within Lagos; minus my fuel expenses.

Seriously, who does that?

The increase would also mean that transporters will hike fares to Lekki, Ajah and environs at a time when everyone should be thinking of making life a little easy for Nigerians.

I really don’t get the rationale behind this proposed hike because the LCC makes ‘criminal’ money daily as it were, from the current toll rates, given the volume of cars I see on the routes daily.

These guys are obviously balling.

Sometimes, the toll collectors are so tired of getting paid by drivers, they barricade a few gates and hand you a frown when it’s your turn. These chaps are making a killing as it were! Why hand them more money?

It’s a good thing that the Lagos State government has stopped the devilish increase on its tracks.

“The Lagos State government hereby informs the general public that the said tariff hike has now been put on hold as the necessary consultations with stakeholders are yet to be concluded.

“While government recognizes the need for periodic review of tariffs and any other levies appertaining to road infrastructure maintenance in the State, the public and critical stakeholders as the ultimate beneficiaries of such facilities must always be carried along at all times.

“Therefore, the proposed tariff hike cannot be effected at this period in the interest of the public, while further consultations continue”.

I do not fancy the tone of the statement from the Lagos State government because it sounds like they’ve only left the Champagne on ice pending when it will be popped open—maybe sooner, when the public is less angry and less agitated.

ALSO READ: Nigerians protest increase in Lekki toll gates tariffs

It sounds too political with coded messages everywhere. The government appears to be playing a familiar script in consonance with LCC.

Here’s what should be done. There should be no hint of an increase anywhere near our ears at least in the next five years pending when LCC convinces us otherwise. Right now, there’s no justification for an increase in vehicle toll fares around the Lekki axis.

We’ll also like to see details of sharing agreement entered into between LCC and Lagos State government concerning the tolls, detailing how long this rip-off has lasted and how many more years we’ll be ripped off.

For now, the discourteous toll collectors from LCC don’t deserve a dime more.

Can I get an Amen?!