A motion has been passed by the Senate on Tuesday to revitalize the establishment of toll gates and the collection of tolls on federal highways across the country.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly recalled that tolls were abolished by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2004, who argued that the revenue for road maintenance should rather be generated from an increased pump price of petrol.
However, the senate now considers that arrangement no longer feasible owing to the drop in Nigeria’s oil production and price. It said collection of toll, from motorists was the only way to construct and maintain roads and enhance their efficiency.
A member of the Senate representing Bauchi-North Senatorial District, Suleiman Nazif, who moved the motion titled, ‘Need for the re-establishment of tolls on our federal highways,’ and seconded by Senator Ali Ndume however, said the Senate was alarmed that the state of the country’s infrastructure, including roads, was worrisome, “particularly due to corruption and mismanagement of resources over the years.” He also observes that the deplorable state of roads in Nigeria has become a national shame and an unnecessary embarrassment.
However, he noted that the payment of tolls at a time Nigeria is facing economic hardship will be an extra burden on the citizens. He further reiterates that Nigerians will benefit the presence of having good and well maintained roads. And the presence of security operatives at the tolls will make for a safe driving.
The senate did not fail to mention critical issues or concerns of Nigerians over toll collections. The issues raised are:
- What will be fixed amounts for tolls?
- Who are to collect the tolls?
- How will the money be utilized?
The Senate, unanimously agreed and mandated The (Senate) Committee on Works to liaise with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission and other relevant stakeholders to develop policy and technology to facilitate the construction, maintenance and tolling in Nigeria.