The Federal Government yesterday begged Nigerians to be patient over the dilapidated road network in Nigeria.
Speaking when he granted audience to the executive and trustee members of the Public Transport Owners of Nigeria Association [PTONA], in Abuja, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, called on Nigerians to be patient and show understanding on the condition of the roads as a lot is being done to ease the pain Nigerians go through while plying them.
“The entire transportation network of road, sea and air is important to the government and the president. We have been having meetings with various stakeholders in the transport sector to make life easier for the people”
“We met with our contractors and work is ongoing in many roads. There is a distance between approval and construction of roads. By the time all these work is completed all we are saying will be a thing of the past. Please be patient” he pleaded.
The Minister expressed his readiness to work closely with all stakeholders, saying: “We are stakeholders. We need to work together. If it works for you, it works for us” he said.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation Engineer Isaac Uhunmwaghu had disclosed that all major transport owners belong to the association which he said was formed to work closely with government to make life easier for road users.
Uhunmwaghu praised the Minister saying: “We in PTONA thoroughly appreciate you for what we know about you in the past 12 years. We are however sad that despite all your efforts and best intentions, the perception by Nigerians about travelling on the road is extremely negative presently” he noted
He attributed this negative perception to insecurity and bad roads. He expressed the support of his association for the recent demand by the Minister for additional funding of N255.6 billion for roads.
In a statement, Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Mr Stephen Kilebi, said that the group also expressed its support for the reintroduction of tolls on all highways in the country. The association suggested that vehicle sensors embedded to it should be used.
Uhunmwaghu said toll gates will not only generate virtually all the funds for road construction and maintenance but have punitive charges for excessive load-carrying vehicles responsible mostly for the quick destruction of our roads.
He urged the Minister to give special attention to the following roads: Lagos- Abuja, Lagos –Port-Harcourt, Port-Harcourt to Abuja and Abuja to Kano road. He also urged the Ministry to give priority to major arterial roads.