Senate moves to reintroduce toll gates on federal roads

The Senate, on Tuesday, passed a motion which laid the foundation for a possible return of toll gates to the country.

The lawmakers, who passed a motion moved by Senator Suleiman Nazif, mandated the Committee on Works to liaise with relevant bodies to review toll gate policy in the country.

The committee was also mandated to study how the country could effectively use toll gates to mobilise funds for road maintenance.

Senator Suleiman Nazif, who moved the motion seeking a return of toll gates to Federal Highways, said the ,if the new plan was to generate revenues, would aid effective and efficient maintenance of Federal Highways.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had, on December 30, 2003 disbanded toll gates across the country and demolished all structures on Highways.

He had said then that the toll policy had outlived its usefulness and that the policy was placing further financial burden on Nigerians.

Senator Nazif told his colleagues that the deplorable state of roads across the country was becoming a national shame and an embarrassment, adding that the reintroduction of toll gates would help redress the situation.

He said: “Besides revenue generation, the presence of toll gates, which are normally managed by armed security agents, provides a level of safety for road users. The government cannot fund road construction alone.

“The poor state of roads in Nigeria has remained for many years a great source of risk for travellers and transporters. Cases of road accidents being reported daily in the new media paint terrible and pathetic pictures of this ugly development.”

The motion was well received, as all lawmakers who contributed, backed the idea. They said the reintroduction of the policy was overdue.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided  over the session, immediately referred the motion to the Committee on Works, which was mandated to do thorough job and report back to the chamber soon.