Abdullahi Mohammed, Chairman of the Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in Bauchi, has called on the federal government to re-establish tollgates on the nation’s highways.
Mr. Mohammed made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Bauchi.
He said, “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.”
The RTEAN chairman noted that while poor access roads damaged their vehicles daily, the price of new vehicles had doubled, and the cost of spare parts gone up by over 50 percent.
He added, “Tollgates in Nigeria are typically road infrastructure. Its main purpose is for revenue generation, which will aid effective and efficient maintenance of the highways.
“The government should partner those in the transportation system unions stakeholders re-establish tollgates.
“The money collected as tolls can be used to fix the roads because the money will run into billions every year.”
Mr. Mohammed, also the North-East zonal chairman of the RTEAN, further said, “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.”
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.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo scrapped the tollgates in 2003, stating that they had outlived their usefulness.
While giving his reasons for destroying the tollgates, Mr. Obasanjo said its daily returns of N63 million were not significant, considering the corruption surrounding the funds and the inconvenience motorists experienced.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan rejected the idea of reintroducing the tollgates on highways. But, according to reports, President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime is considering the reintroduction of tollgates.