MIXED REACTIONS TRAIL FG’S PLAN TO RE-INTRODUCE TOLL PLAZAS

Road users in Lagos were on Thursday divided over the plan by the Federal Government to reintroduce toll plazas on highways in the country.

In separate interviews. some of the road users approved the plan, while others described the plazas as unnecessary.

A dispatch Rider, Peter John said, that reintroduction of toll gates was good and would help solve the problem of insecurity in the country.

“It is because there are no toll gates that a lot of bad things are happening now. If there are toll gates and there are security men at such points, it will help reduce insecurity”

According to him, it is not only good roads that matter but also safety.

A Civil Servant, Mrs Angela Olarenwaju, said the proposed plazas should be left for the private sector, for better management.

“Tolling should be a private initiative, with the government only as regulator,’’ she said, noting that such an arrangement would give the toll gates better chances of
survival.

A businessman, Mr Jide Taiwo, said that if the tolling was properly managed, it would speed up development in road infrastructure.

“It is only when they remit the money to the appropriate quarters that the aim of tolling can be realised.

“If they arrange it in a proper way that would not be fraudulent, it would be good. I love tolling, it brings development,” he said.

A Welder, Mr Abdulkareem Abdulrahaman, said that erecting toll plazas could be okay if the proceeds would be invested on
roads.

However, a Banker, Mrs Chrity Katung, said that reintroducing toll gates would be mere waste of time.

“What happened to the old toll gates?’’ she asked, arguing that the proposed plazas had tendency to go the way of the previous ones,except there was new approach to
managing the plazas.

The Minister of State for Works, Amb. Bashir Yuguda, had said on Nov. 7 that the planned re-introduction of toll plazas was meant to make additional funds available for road management.

Yuguda said that the tolling policy was being re-introduced to open up the sector to local and international investors and to make more funds available for road maintenance.

He said that the policy would be pursued on a Public Private Partnership basis, unlike in the past when it was implemented through the public service with all the inadequacies and mismanagement.

“The green paper on the proposed tolling policy on federal roads and bridges calls for a fresh start,” he had said.

According to him, stakeholders in the sector will deliberate on the green paper on the policy and it will later be submitted to the Federal Executive Council for approval.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had in 2004 ordered the dismantling of toll gates across the country, citing loss of revenue to government and poor maintenance of the tolled roads.

The Federal Government spent billions of naira to dismantle the toll plazas nationwide.

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