Senate moves to re-introduce toll gates on highways
Declines screening of nominees for NERC job over Akinwande’s absence
The Senate has mandated its committee on works to liaise with other relevant stakeholders to study the toll-gate policy aimed at producing a holistic package to generate funds for roads’ maintenance.
Adopting a three-prayer motion sponsored by Senator Suleiman Nazif (APC, Bauchi North), the upper legislative chamber urged the ministries of works and transport as well as other critical stakeholders to come up with a comprehensive policy to back up the toll-gate system with a view to avoiding the pitfalls of the past.
It also urged the ministry of works to synergise with that of information on the need to sensitise the people on the importance of re-establishing toll-gates aimed at correcting negative impressions arising from past mishandling of proceeds.
Nazif said the purpose was to generate revenues, which will aid effective and efficient maintenance of federal highways.
According to him: “Besides revenue generation, the presence of toll-gates provides a level of safety for road users. The government cannot fund road construction alone.
“The poor state of roads in Nigeria has remained for many years a great source of risk for travellers and transporters. Cases of road accidents being reported daily in the news media paint terrible and pathetic pictures of this ugly development.”
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided during plenary, also lauded the move. He urged the committee to do a thorough job and report back as soon as possible so that lawmakers could take a position on the issue.
In another development, the Senate Committee on Power yesterday called off the screening of Chairman-designate for Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Prof. Akintunde Akinwande, and others upon discovering that he was absent.
Efforts by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Solomon Ita Enang, to persuade the committee to screen other nominees was rebuffed as its chairman, Enyinnaya Abaribe, said that the failure of the Presidency to inform the Senate about the reasons for the absence of Akinwande amounted to disrespect.
Abaribe also said that there was no way the committee could go on with the screening without the chairman-designate.
He said that the inauguration of the board of NERC was crucial to solving the problems of the sector.