On Wednesday, Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen announced yesterday that government has concluded plans to reintroduce tolling at the facilities that were constructed through private sector funding.
Onolememen said his ministry had earlier organised a conference aimed at “preparing the minds of Nigerians for tolls.”
Reacting to the development, some citizens who spoke to our correspondent alleged the re introduction of tolling on roads was just a ploy by officials to line their pockets.
Kazeem Ibrahim, a Lagos resident said government had not satisfactorily justified the reintroduction of the polls.
“I seriously condemn the idea. We all know what happened with the former tolls gates that were later dismantled by the Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo administration. Monies were just collected without being used for construction of roads. I do not know why government now feels it is now convenient to reintroduce toll gates again. Since Obasanjo dismantled the old toll gates and now, nothing has changed. Corruption has in fact doubled and I don’t see how bringing back these gates will improve our roads,” he said.
Ibrahim advised government to seek other avenues of financing road construction instead of subjecting road users to hardships.
Civil Right Activists, Debo Adeniran, argued the Ministry of Works had not consulted Nigerians on the issue.
“The ministry only gathered few people in a hall in Abuja and after about two hours of discussion, agreed that the idea should be implemented. With all due respect to the office of the ministry of work, I don’t think that the ministry is sincere with Nigerians. How can you meet a few people and deliberate for few hours and decide that that was the view of over 170 million Nigerians on an issue. Nigerians have said it over and over again. We don’t want toll gates. This country has enough money to construct roads without troubling the people to pay for using the roads,” he said.
Debo said he would personally lead a protest to kick against the plan.
Public affairs analyst, Paul Amaechi, said while the idea might not be a bad one, its implementation might be a major problem.
“We know such ideas are workable elsewhere. Here in Nigeria, you should expect it to be implemented badly. For instance, we should expect that fare would increase if that policy goes on as planned. We should also expect that corruption will make a mess of the idea. If this aspect is properly handled, I personally thinks it is not a bad idea,” he said.