The National President of the Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria (ALBON), Sir Dan Okemuo has advised the federal government to reintroduce toll plazas on major highways across the nation.
Okemuo said highway tolling was a proven, reliable road maintenance funding method that is delivering results in many parts of the world, owing to the involvement of private investors who provide efficient management.
According to him, the nation’s highways would be better maintained and safer for motorists and the travelling public, if the Federal Government re-established toll plazas on inter-state routes.
Okemuo, who is the Chairman of Dan Dollars Motors Ltd recommended that the toll-gates should be built in partnership with the private investors, who would collect tolls and use the funds to maintain and keep them motorable..
Okemuo explained 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 were presently.
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, 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 the government. Let us have that kind of arrangement on our highways.”
The ALBON President decried the problem of insecurity on inter-city roads, and bemoaned the worsening condition of most highways which daily results in avoidable accidents.
“But, with toll-gates in place, the funds realised 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, “The new toll-gates can be built in such a way that Federal Road Safety Corps, Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), the Police and other security agencies, can be accommodated there. Restaurants can also be included for the convenience of the travelling public.
“The result will be that the highways will be safer, and motorists will have stop-over spots that are more secure. A driver whose vehicle develops a fault can look forward to getting help at the nearest toll-gate.”