By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The South East Revival Group (SERG) has described as “shameful and insensitive for the federal government of Nigeria to even contemplate a reintroduction of toll gates on any Nigerian road, let alone announcing it”, advising President Muhammadu Buhari not to allow himself to be hoodwinked by some interested individuals who do not mean well for the country.
This was contained in a statement issued after its meeting in Abuja on Sunday by its National Coordinator, Chief Willy Ezugwu, even as the SERG warned that “the federal government may be provoking the South East region, in particular, if that part of the country is included in such an unthinkable adventure like toll collecting from citizens in such a neglected region.”
The statement maintained that “in a country where the welfare of citizens is a top priority, such proposal would have been considered a taboo.
“At the moment, there are several unofficial toll gates across the south east region at roadblocks mounted by the police, customs and other security agencies and they are currently extorting motorists day and night with impunity.
“We believe that some interested individuals are trying very hard to deceive Mr. President into their toll gate business. Toll collection concession has always been a big business for looters who have used the guise of raising money for road maintenance to corner resources of the country.
“It is unfortunate that after increasing fuel pump price of by near 100 percent in 2015, virtually every federal roads in the country, particularly in southern Nigeria, is in gross disrepair.
“The south east has highest number of dilapidated federal roads. States within the south east region are so literarily disconnected from each due to the poor conditions of federal roads in the region that toll gates would be the highest level of provocation of the people.
“SERG wish to advise the federal government to be more innovative in solving the age-long problem of road maintenance as toll gate is not an option”, the group noted.