By Anthony Isaac
The Public Transport Owners of Nigeria Association (PTONA) has described as ‘close to a nightmare’ the experience of travelling on Nigerian roads.
The group during a visit to the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola on Monday in Abuja sought urgent intervention from the government ahead of the holiday season.
National President of PTONA, Engr. Isaac Uhunmwagho, said there is widespread discontent in the land as 95 per cent of the Nigerian population travel by roads as most cannot afford air travel.
He said the poor state of the has led to serious insecurity and menace of heavy trucks.
He lamented that “the amalgamation of human traffic, goods trailers, thousands of petroleum tankers all on the road at the same time is causing a total grinding of traffic to zero speed in the cities and highways.
“We acknowledge that the responsibility of your ministry is to provide the roads infrastructure to enable our citizens and goods to smoothly and efficiently move between various locations in Nigeria.
“Despite all the grandeurs road projects in the country, the exercise of moving around in the country especially for our fellow Nigerians is close to a nightmare”.
Uhunmwagho said that the association is strongly in support of the reintroduction of Toll on all highways in the country, stressing that apart from generating self-sustaining charges for maintenance the tolls if reintroduced would also provide punitive charges for heavy duty trucks which shortens the life span of the nation’s highways.
The group called for an end to the movement of heavy duty trucks in the day time, adding if the heavy duty trailers and tankers are apportioned to move in the nights, and passengers move in the daytime hours, both passengers and heavy duty trailers will be getting to their destinations faster.
Fashola in his response assured the association that most of the concerns raised were already being taken care of by the government, urging them to exercise patience as there are time between commencement of work and completion.
He said government is constrained by inadequate funds and expected to be doing a lot of work at the same time.
He also charged members of the association to also endeavour to help the ministry report spots where the roads are failing to enable government appropriately tackle the situations on time.
The minister hinted that government shall reintroduce tolls, but only when the roads are properly fixed, adding that most of the ongoing road networks already have toll designs embedded in the them.
“We get reports from our comptrollers across the states but we expect you also to give us reports on the exact places where the roads are failing to ensure they are in line with reports from our comptrollers.
If you cannot get the exact kilometer photograph the place or describe it by the next village. This will enable work better for you because that is why we are in government, to solve the problems ” he said.