The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has labelled the Federal Government’s plans to reintroduce toll collections on selected federal highways 18 years after the Olusegun Obasanjo dismantled all tollgates as “offensive, vexatious and inflammatory”.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who announced the reintroduction at the end of last week’s virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at State House, Abuja, said motorists would pay N200 or N500 at the toll stations per trip, depending on the make of their vehicles.
But in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said the move would inflict further hardships on Nigerians.
“Our party, after an extensive consideration, insists that the move to return tollgates to allow All Progressives Congress (APC) interests to further fleece already impoverished Nigerians, is offensive, vexatious and inflammatory, and as such should not be contemplated under any guise whatsoever,” the opposition party said.
The PDP said the return of tollgates would “add more economic burden on the people, lead to hike in transport fares, increase in the prices of goods and services as well as provide safe haven for corrupt APC leaders to extort money from innocent Nigerians.
“APC’s decision to impose levies on the highways, even after it had increased the fuel pump price to an extortionate N165 per litre, further confirms that the APC is a heartless party that is out to fleece and impose hardship on the people to benefit its leaders.”
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It insisted the Federal Government had not business collecting tolls on highways because of the huge financial resources at its disposal.
The PDP blamed growing poverty in the country on the ruling APC, “particularly in the face of the reckless and unbridled looting of national revenue by its leaders”.
It added: “This is especially as the APC and its administration have not been able to account for the over N1.4 trillion allocated for works in addition to over N120 billion collected from Nigerians as motor vehicle licence in the last six years.
“Our party maintains that Nigerians would not have been facing such exacerbated suffering but for the APC’s corruption, incompetence, lethargic approach to governance and failure to adopt strategic way to harness and develop our abundant resources to the benefit of the citizens