More hard time await Nigerians as Senate yesterday urged the Federal Government to immediately reintroduce toll gates on every federal road.
Consequently, the Upper Legislative Chamber directed its Committee on Works to engage with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) on concessioningof federal roads.
These were sequel to the adoption of the report of the Adhoc Committee on Works on the Total Collapse of Federal Roads in Nigeria.
The report, which sought to rebuild and maintain constantly existing roads, infrastructures and introduce weigh bridges to protect the roads, further aims to discourage overtaking highways that were not constructed for ferrying heavy vehicles and trucks.
It would be recalled that former President Olusegun Obasanjo had, in 2004, dismantled all toll gates on federal highways across the country.
But the Red Chamber believes that revenue collected from the scheme could be channeled into maintaining the roads.
Presenting the report of the Committee for consideration, its Chairman, Senator Barnabas Gemade, said that the Committee also recommended the rebuilding and constant maintenance of the existing roads infrastructure, as well as introduction of weigh bridges to protect roads.
The Panel, which is made up of 15 senators, also recommended investment in rail, air and water ways to act as alternatives to road transport so as to decrease the traffic on the roads for longer lifespan.
Also, the Panel advocated for concrete roads in some parts of the country, especially in areas that are not suitable for bitumen pavements.
The Gemade-led Committee also observed that the yearly budgetary allocation to the Federal Ministry of Works was inadequate to construct major roads to international standard.
While blaming the trend on contractors that compromise standards, the Committee observed with regrets that most of the federal roads cannot stand the test of time because they were built below standard. “There should be proper and adequate planning of roads.
The short term approach of yearly budgeting has proved ineffective, this promotes neglect of some of the roads.
“At times, when new government takes over, new programmes will be initiated, and the ongoing projects are abandoned. If there is a policy that promotes long term planning, any government that comes (should) be bound to follow it,” the report read in part.
– Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja