prominent transporter and chairman of Dan Dollars Motors, Sir Dan Okemuo, has advised the Federal Government to re-establish toll gates on the nation’s highways, but this time in partnership with the private sector.
Okemuo, who is also the National President of the Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria (ALBON), argued that, if highways were tolled and properly managed, they would be better maintained and safer for road users, especially inter-city passenger transporters, than they are presently.
The toll-gates were scrapped nationwide in 2004 by the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration, which said they had outlived their usefulness.
However, making a fresh case for the return of the toll gates, Okemuo recommended that the roads should be entrusted to responsible private investors who would collect tolls and use the funds to maintain and keep roads motorable.
He said: “Our leaders travel abroad and see the way these things are done over there. They should ensure that we do the same here. When I travelled to the United States, I observed that, if you are moving from one city to another city, you will pass a toll gate. My inquiries showed that the companies manning the gates collect the tolls, maintain the roads and pay an agreed sum to government. Let us have that kind of arrangement on our highways.”
He decried the problem of insecurity on highways and bemoaned the worsening condition of highways, which causes accidents that could have been avoided if the roads were well-maintained.
“With toll-gates in place the funds will be used to keep the roads in good shape, leading to a reduction in accidents. Moreover, insecurity, especially armed robbery and kidnapping, will also be checked,” he said.