By Naomi Sharang
The Senate on Tuesday mandated its Committee on Works to carefully study the abolished toll gate policy with a view to producing a holistic package to generate funds for roads maintenance.
The resolution of the Senate followed a motion by Sen Suleiman Nazif (APC-Bauchi) on the need for the re-introduction of toll gates on Federal Highways.
It would be recalled that former president Olusegun Obasanjo had, on Dec. 30, 2003 disbanded toll gates across the country. The ban took effect on Jan. 1 2004.
Obasanjo based his reason for scrapping the policy on claims that it had outlived its usefulness and that the scheme was placing additional financial burden on Nigerians.
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 burden of the roads maintenance on government.
Nazif, while explaining the need to reintroduce the scheme, said the purpose was to generate revenue which would aid effective and efficient maintenance of Federal Highways.
He said the deplorable state of roads across the country had become “a national shame and an unnecessary embarrassment’’.
The lawmaker noted that the re-establishment of toll gates would solve the problem of dilapidated roads.
He said: ”Besides revenue generation, the presence of toll gates, which are normally managed by armed security agencies, provide a level of safety for road users.
“The state of roads in Nigeria, which has remained poor for many years and is a great source of risk for travellers and transporters.
”Reports of daily road accidents in the media paint a terrible and pathetic picture of this ugly development.”
Deputy President of the Senate, who presided during plenary, also lauded the move.
He urged the committee to do a thorough job and report back as soon as possible to enable the lawmakers to take a decision on the issue.