By Tordue Salem, Abuja.
A member of the House of Representatives, representing Aguata Federal Constituency of Anambra State, Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji has opposed the Federal government policy to revive toll gates, across the country, especially in the South East.
Hon. Umeoji through a press briefing at the National Assembly yesterday, suggested that the policy will worsen the plight of people from the region, who were already under the yoke of bad roads.
“The South East has the lowest Federal presence compared to other zones. The Federal roads in the zone have collapsed with a heavy toll on human life, goods and services. The Southeast has the least allocation of funds for road maintenance and re-construction but ranks highest in terms of proposed road taxation.
“What is the moral justification for tolling on roads that are not motorable? He queried.
Various government projects are done in total isolation of the Southeast, the railway line project is structured to exclude the zone he opined.
He alleged that “the zone is completely cut off from land, sea and air. The Enugu Airport is closed down, the Onitsha inland waterways are not functional. This infrastructural policy is to punish the South East and stifle development”.
He said the toll gates, would be “theatres of psychological and mental torture on the people and constitute the arena for humiliation, intimidation and extortion”.
The proposal to return toll gates to every state of the country has been greeted with protests from some groups around the country since govt’s proposal to bring back to the toll gates.
The policy suspended under the 1999-2007 administration of Ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo until recently, when the government of President Buhari, decided to revisit it.