By Bennett Oghifo
The Federal Government has been urged to expedite action on the rehabilitation of roads across the country in order to save the travelling public the agony of taking their vehicles through some bad routes in parts of the country.
This was part of the recommendations made by a delegation of frontline transport owners and leaders of the recently inaugurated Public Transport Owners of Nigeria Association (PTONA) when it paid a visit to the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, in his office in Abuja.
Led by PTONA President, Engr. Isaac I. Uhunmwagho, the transport owners pointed out that a good network of roads in all parts of the country would not only save the motorists a lot of headache, but also enhance productivity and boost the nation’s economy.
The visitors also canvassed for the re-introduction of what they described as “smart tolling” of vehicles on the highways, in a manner commensurate with vehicles weights and impact on the roads.
According to them, the re-introduction of tolling which the Federal Government had earlier in October given hint of, would help raise sufficient funds for roads construction and repairs, at a time government has been sourcing for funds to invest on infrastructural development..
The PTONA leaders decried a situation whereby heavy static loads are left on roads and bridges thereby causing early damage to the infrastructures, and urged government to make effort to address the situation in order to halt further destruction of the highways. Similarly, the transport owners advised government to limit the weights of heavy duty vehicles which prematurely cause roads damage and destruction.
Commenting on the visit, Uhunmwagho, who is also the Chairman of Efosa Express and EFEX Executive, expressed gratitude to Fashola for the audience granted to the delegation and the assurances that the proffered suggestions would be given serious consideration.
Before departing, the visiting transport owners agreed with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing that a continuing working relationship would be maintained between them.
With Uhunmwagho during the courtesy visit to the Works Minister, were a trustee of PTONA, and Chairman of E. Ekesons Bros and Sons Ltd, Chief Eugene Ojukwu; Chief Dan Okemuo of Dan Dollars Motors; and another trustee, Greg Inyaba.
Others were Chinedu Onyishi of Peace Mass Transit; Simon Onwana of ABC Transport; Valentine Uduebor of Famous Motors; and Christian Ogueri of Ugorising Transport.
Public Transport Owners of Nigeria Association was inaugurated a few months ago in Lagos following years of fruitful coalition talks by the affiliate transport bodies, namely the Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria (ALBON); Association of Mass Transit Operators of Nigeria (AMTO); and Association of Benin Transport Owners (ABTO); as well as other transport owners.