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A prominent transporter and Chairman of Dan Dollars Motors, Sir Dan Okemuo, has advised the Federal Government to re-establish toll-gates on the nation’s highways, but this time, in partnership with the private sector.

Okemuo, who is also the National President of the Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria {ALBON}, argued that if highways are tolled and properly managed, they will be better maintained and safer for road users, especially inter-city passenger transporters, than they are presently.

The toll-gates were scrapped nationwide in 2004 by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, which said they had outlived their usefulness.

However, making a fresh case for the return of the gates, Okemuo recommended that the roads be entrusted to responsible private investors who will collect tolls and use the funds to maintain and keep them motorable.

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 city, 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 government. Let us have that kind of arrangement on our highways.”

He decried the problem of insecurity on the highways, and bemoaned the worsening condition of highways which every day results in accidents that could have been avoided if the roads were well maintained.

“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.

“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 getting help at the nearest toll-gate”

Highway tolling is 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.

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