The Million Dollar Question: Who Owns the Lekki Toll Gate? …As Nigerians Still Link it to Tunji Olowolafe

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The Million Dollar Question: Who Owns the Lekki Toll Gate? …As Nigerians Still Link it to Tunji Olowolafe

The Million Dollar Question: Who Owns the Lekki Toll Gate? …As Nigerians Still Link it to Tunji Olowolafe
October 27
12:18 2020

By Tejumola Obisesan

Yes, Olatunji Olowolafe was in Dubai when Lagos was on fire! Alas, the cackling cacophony of gunshots as captured real-time by avid smart phone users is still reverberating. Many of the injured are still writhing in excruciating pains. Those whose lives were tragically ended may have been committed to mother earth. Because of the Gestapo-like operation of the soldiers that rained bullets on harmless, peaceful protesters on the night of Tuesday, October 20th at the Lekki toll plaza, the number of deaths is still shrouded in mystery. The Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwoolu, who initially denied that there were fatalities, later, confessed that a protester, indeed, died at the Reddington Hospital, Lagos, due to brutal force trauma to the head. The military authority maintains that its men were not deployed to the scene in a tone reminiscent of the iconoclastic Afrobeat maestro, late Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s ‘Unknown Soldier’.

Earlier on that tragic day, the state government had announced a curfew for 4pm. This was around midday. It was an announcement that further incensed the protesting youths who decided to stay put, waving the green white green flag of Nigeria and enthusiastically singing the national anthem. Around 6 pm, some cameras were removed from the toll plaza. As dusk fell, the luminous toll gate lights and street lights were switched off throwing the entire place into a sprawling canvas of darkness. Minutes later, the soldiers  allegedly descended on the protesters shooting sporadically as the world watched in crippling shock. But one question subsists; yes, one question; what is the level of complicity of the owners of the Lekki tollgate?

Instructively, the Lekki tollgate is managed by the Lekki Concession Company established as a special purpose vehicle to operate the Lekki tollgates and Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge. Many Nigerians believe that the LCC is owned by Dr Tunji Olowolafe, a popular but self-effacing billionaire businessman who is reputed for being Lagos’ Number One Contractor. The assumption is not misplaced. During the administrations of former Governors Bola Tinubu and Babatunde Raji Fashola, Olowolafe was the go-to contractor. The Ekiti-born businessman got bigger and busier and wealthier during Fashola’s administration as he executed virtually all its legacy projects.

Through his construction firm, Deux Projects Limited, Olowolafe constructed and equipped all the maternal and childcare buildings across many general hospitals in the state, built the Bola Tinubu Diagnostics, a private diagnostic centre located within the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, and its burns unit located inside the General Hospital, Gbagada; and the Lagos State Cardiac and Renal Centre, a multi-billion naira health facility in Gbagada. The contracts are numerous. No wonder the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, arrested him on Friday, April 23rd 2010, to answer to allegations of being a proxy to the then Governor Fashola. Olowolafe spent three days in detention.

It is, therefore, not farfetched that Nigerians at home and abroad have been cursing him for purportedly engineering the switching off of the lights at the toll gate last Tuesday. However, sources say that Olowolafe may have relinquished his chairmanship of the LCC board after the takeover by the Lagos State government in 2015.  But Nigerians would have none of it as they believe that he is culpable in the Tuesday bloodshed as his collaborators like Tinubu and Sanwo-Olu.

Curiously, however, a number of respondents who spoke to this medium say the management of LCC and even Olowolafe’s condescending silence on the incident is the more aggravating considering that whether or not he has relinquished his chairmanship of the LCC, he has made good money from the tollgate and it behoves him to, at least, sympathise with the victims. Will he shed his toga of indifference and silence on the matter? The world waits with bated breath.




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1 Comment

  1. AKG
    AKG October 27, 13:03

    God will heal our nation, sadly we have lost it

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