Alhaji Abdullahi Mohammed, Chairman, Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in Bauchi, has called on the Federal Government to re-establish tollgates on the nation’s highways.
Mohammed made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Bauchi.
According to him, proceeds from the tollgates will aid the effective and efficient maintenance of highways in the country.
He decried the poor state of the highways and access roads that over time, had caused so much damage to the transportation system and businesses in the country.
“Our members are leaving the business in droves, because it is becoming increasingly unprofitable, as a result of the very poor state of the highways and access roads,” he stated.
He noted that while the poor access roads were damaging their vehicles daily, the cost of acquiring new vehicles had doubled and the cost of spare parts, up by over 50 percent.
“Tollgating facilities in Nigeria are typically road infrastructure, which is meant for trafficator of highways in the environment.
“Its main purpose is for revenue generation, which will aid effective and efficient maintenance of the highways.
“Government should partner with those in the transportation system unions stakeholders re-establish the tollgates.
”The money collected as tolls can be used to fix the roads because the money will run into billions every year,” Mohammed said
Mohammed, who is also the North East zonal chairman of the association, further said that Nigerian roads generally, needed urgent attention.
”The provision of roads and transportation facilities, as well as their maintenance are fundamentally more important than their destruction.
“It also contributes to the development of Nigeria, as well as the well-being of its inhabitants,” he stressed.
The chairman also called for the establishment of a bank of transportation, to facilitate agreements and loan policies between government and transporters, to enhance the transportation system in the country.
He urged members of the association to remain law-abiding members and have respect for the policies and programs of government.
President Olusegun Obasanjo scrapped the tollgates in 2003, stating that it had outlived its usefulness to Nigerians.
While giving his reasons for destroying the tollgates, Obasanjo said its daily returns of N63 million weren’t that significant, considering the corruption surrounding the funds and the inconvenience motorists experienced due to the tollgates.
The idea of returning the tollgates to federal highways was considered during the administration of former President, Goodluck Jonathan.
It was, however, frowned upon then.
But according to the Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola, no Nigerian law prohibits tolling in Nigeria.
Fashola said: ”We expect to return toll plazas. We have concluded the designs of what they will look like, what materials they will be rebuilt with, and what new considerations must go into them.
”What we are looking at now and trying to conclude is how the bank end runs.”