BY EMEKA MAMAH
LAGOS — The Federal Ministry of Works may soon stop awarding contracts for the repair or construction of major highways in the country due to the N1 trillion debt being owed contractors by the ministry.
The Council for Infrastuctural Engineering and Development, CIED, which said this in Kaduna, yesterday, attributed the development to non-payment of tolls on roads.
CIED, which argued that it was only in Nigeria that motorists could drive up to 1,000 kilometres without paying tolls, called for people’s understanding as efforts were being made to revolutionise the road sector.
Apparently kick-starting the campaign for the re-introduction of toll gates on major roads, CIED’s Director-General, Alexander Ekwunife, in a statement, entitled, ‘’Save Nigerian roads with the toll-gate system,’’ said it had been appealing for understanding on the need for retolling since 1989.
The statement, signed by its Director-General, Alexander Ekwunife, read in part,’’Since 1989, we have remained a persistent voice and major stakeholder in the development of road infrastructure for Nigeria.
’’Over the past years, the CIED has been particularly peeved by the derelict remains of what we call Nigerian roads. Nigerians have grown into a habit of providing infrastructures for themselves like water, electricity, etc but not roads because of the huge cost of provision and maintenance.
’’We were happy when the FMW sounded the global thinking of leaving road development in the hands of the private sector which is what have brought great development in the construction of roads in America, Europe, Asia, Middle East and some parts of Africa.
’’We also wholeheartedly support the re-introduction of the tolling system on our roads which was discarded by previous administration without effective alternative solutions.
It is only in Nigeria that one will drive 1000 kilometres without paying a kobo for use of roads, including the numerous trucks that ply the roads day and night.