Toll gates: Exempting govt agencies show they’re above the law – Pat Utomi

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Professor of Political Economy, Prof. Pat Utomi has advised against exempting government-controlled establishments as the Federal Government plans to reintroduce toll collection on some selected dual carriageways.

Last week, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola said only 14.3 percent of the entire 35,000 kilometres of federal roads that are dual carriage highways will be eligible for tolling with vehicles paying between N200 and N500 per trip depending on their make while diplomatic, military, para-military as well as tricycles and motorcycles will be exempted from toll payments.

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However, Utomi said that exempting some government-controlled establishments from paying tolls was tantamount to declaring them above the law.

“In Nigeria, there is a culture of some people being above the law. In many ways, it is an assault on the rule of law, but they don’t realise it; they think it’s the privilege of power.

“And we must begin to change these things. Let the government departments budget for their toll payment.

“Let them buy e-tags so that they won’t be disturbed when blowing their sirens. But the tag immediately makes sure that the tolls are deducted from their payments; if they want special discounts or volume consumption, that is a commercial consideration.

“But creating this privileged thing is what creates a mess every time, everywhere. And people have an entitlement mentality, because they’re in government, they can do whatever they like.

“Let them have a budgeting department for their tolls; let them go and buy e-tags and use them to ply the highways,” Utomi said.


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