The management of Lekki Concession Company, the concessionaire of the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos, has said that over N2.5bn losses has been recorded since #EndSARS protest in October 2020.
The Managing Director of LCC, Yomi Omomuwasan, who addressed the press on Monday, said that the loss made by the company since the #EndSARS protest would not be less than N2.5bn, as efforts are still ongoing to determine the extent of losses as a result of stoppage of operation.
He said, “Why do we need to go back? Our going back into operation will not be immediate. It will take some time, not one month, maybe three months.
“Don’t forget our assets were completely insured and our insurance companies need to go there and assess the level of damage and the assets burnt. We will require a team of engineers because we operate electronic tolling system.
“We need proper and full assessment which I believe will take some time. We are going to do civil work, some electrical cables and so on. I am not sure it will happen within three months. That is why I said we must go back. We also have some staff that were asked to stay home, about 500 of them, 90 per cent of them are youths.”
Speaking further, Omomuwasan said that the company is currently indebted to local and foreign creditors to the tune of N11.5bn and $31m respectively, adding that as of 2011, the firm was owing commercial banks in Nigeria, N24bn, and the International Development Bank, $49m.
He said payment of the debt has been stalled since October 2020 when the tollgate was shut due to the #EndSARS protest.
He said, “It has been impossible to meet our loan repayment obligations- and obligations to our workers- given our inability to collect tolls, the main revenue source from which the repayment was contractually expected to come.
“Again, this explains where the bulk of our earnings goes, contrary to the false claims on social media that the toll plaza is a cash cow. If we default in payment of these loans, the implications for the business community are too grave to be imagined.”
He further explained that the lenders are requesting for the assessment of the damages to the toll gates as a result of the crisis, saying this is one of the reasons why it sought to take repossession of the tollgate.
“The banks want a formal report and if we don’t go back to do the assessment, it will be extremely impossible to give the report,” he added.