Lagos Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources Tokunbo Wahab on Tuesday told members of the Lekki Residents Association that the decision to remove inner street gates in Lekki 1 was taken in the larger interest of all residents of the state.
Wahab who spoke at a stakeholders meeting convened by his transport counterpart, Mr Oluwaseun Osiyemi in Alausa said it was a very painful decision which had to be taken because the State Government had the responsibility to regulate operations at Lekki 1 which is a government scheme.
Saying the action was regrettable, Wahab said all the removed gates are intact and would be returned to the various zones of the residents association immediately an amicable agreement is reached on modalities for re-installing the gates.
He reiterated that part of the agreement must include a proviso that the gates cannot be shut before 12 midnight and must have personnel manning them to ensure seamless entry and exit for all residents.
He said part of what informed the decision to remove all the gates was to avoid a situation where the state would be accused of cherry picking streets that had their gates pulled down.
Wahab said part of the larger picture was that many people, areas and institutions got away with infractions because they worked in silos and there was no synergy, adding that it has now become a thing of the past.
He corrected the notion that only the ministry of transportation could deal with removal of street gates, saying all ministries represent sub-units of one whole system which could be directed by the governor because they are all linked and inter-related.
Also speaking, Commissioner for Transportation, Oluwaseun Osiyemi said the meeting was not to apportion blames but to ensure that if the streets are to be gated, all laid down rules and regulations must be abided with.
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He added that while the state government is not keen to put personal security of the Lekki 1 residents in jeopardy, it will also not jeopardize the free movement of people without let or hindrance as enshrined in the Constitution.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Lekki Residents Association, Yomi Idowu appealed to the state government to reconsider the decision to remove all the inner gates.
He explained that following the directives of the Ministry of Transportation to the Lekki Residents Association to keep all the inner gates open, the association complied but had to contend with some recalcitrant streets residents which refused to open theirs.
Idowu recalled that he also experienced the issue of non-admittance to some streets in Lekki 1 where he was asked to provide access codes which was totally unwarranted and condemnable.
He attributed the indiscriminate erection of street gates to the experience residents of Lekki 1 had during the EndSARS riot which brought about a quest to protect themselves against intrusion.