The Public Transport Owners Association of Nigeria (PTOAN) has lent support for the construction of toll gates in the country as a way of helping to put punitive charges on heavy-duty vehicles.
Engr. Isaac Uhunmwagho, National President of the association made this known in Abuja on Monday when the association paid a visit on the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola.
Uhunmwagho also suggested to the ministry to ensure that heavy-duty vehicles were apportioned to move at night so that the roads can enjoy a longer lifespan.
According to him, we are thoroughly in support of toll gates in Nigeria as developed countries uses toll gates to generate funds which form 80 per cent of what they use in maintaining their roads.
“Toll gates will not only generate virtually all the funds for road construction and maintenance, it will also help in putting punitive charges on heavy vehicles on the road.
“Roads that are constructed to last for 20 years sometimes don’t last for seven years because of heavy-duty vehicles on the roads.
” If the works carried out by the ministry was to be appreciated the roads need to be protected by limiting heavy-duty vehicles on the roads.
” Also, if the heavy vehicles are apportioned to move at night and passenger vehicles move in the day, both will be getting to their destination faster and safer and our roads and bridges will enjoy a longer lifespan.”
The national president added that it would also increase efficiency and road safety while also reducing human stress.
He called on the ministry to prioritise the construction of Lagos- Abuja, Lagos-Portharcourt and Abuja- Kano roads saying that Nigerians are suffering and wasting longer hours as a result of bad roads.
Responding, Mr Babatunde Fashola said that the existence of government was to proffer solutions to any problem, saying that the roads were not an exception.
Fashola said the entire transport network was important to the government as a whole as well as the prosperity to be delivered to Nigerians, hence working to ensure Nigerians have good lives.
” We know the conditions of most if not the entire roads. We get reports of the 36 states from our controllers to solve the problems reported from the fields.
“We have been meeting with our contractors since September as we are moving into action since the rains are over.
“Part of the Onitsha-Enugu roads are now in better condition than what they were but there are will still some work going on.
” The Abuja-Kano highway is under reconstruction, we have directed the portholes resurfacing on the roads should be fixed.”
Fashola, however, said that there were challenges of resources saying that not all road budgets are entirely funded but that the government was finding ways to address the funding issues.
On the reconstruction of toll gates, he said that the government would commence the construction of toll gates when it finished all road networks in the country.
He, therefore, urged PTOAN to help enforce loading at the various bus terminals to avoid the abuse of overloading.
Fashola, who was optimistic that things would get better, also called on Nigerians to be patient with the government as it takes time between the approval and the actual completion of roads.
PTOAN is a registered association of not more than two years that brings together major transport name in the country.