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Senate mulls reintroduction of toll gates on Federal Highways



Senate in stormy session over moves to amend INEC Act

The Senate maybe toying with the idea of re-introducing the payment of tolls on federal highways around the country.

The upper chamber, on Tuesday, instructed its committee on Works to study the toll gate policy in collaboration with other stakeholders on effective and efficient ways to carryout the policy aimed at producing a holistic package to generate funds for roads maintenance.

The position of the Senate, followed a motion moved by Senator Suleiman Nazif on the need for the re-establishment‎ of toll gates on Nigeria’s Federal Highways.

‎In December 2015, the Senate passed a motion and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to reintroduce toll gates across the country in order to reduce the burdens on the roads. The current move is coming 10 months after it took a similar position.

But explaining the need to reintroduce the scheme, Senator Nazif, said‎ the purpose is to generate revenues which will aid effective and efficient maintenance of Federal Highways.

He said the deplorable state of roads across the country has become a national shame and unnecessary embarrassment. The lawmaker noted that the re-establishment of toll gates will solve the problem of dilapidated road networks.

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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 travelers and transporters. Cases of road accidents being reported daily in the new media paint terrible and pathetic pictures of this ugly development.”

All the lawmakers who contributed, spoke in favour of the motion and stressed the need why the reintroduction was timely. Deputy President of the Senate who presided during plenary, also lauded the move.

He urged the committee on Works to do a thorough job and report back as soon as possible so that lawmakers can take a position on the issue.

By Ehisuan Odia….

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