Law News
The Proposed Roads Fund Bill

FEELERS from the Federal Ministry of Works indicate that a bill to create a special fund for the construction and rehabilitation of federal roads nationwide will soon be forwarded to the National Assembly for promulgation into law. According to the Director of Federal Highways in the Ministry, Alhaji Shehu Dankano, the bill, when it becomes law, will go a long way in reducing the nightmares motorists go through on many roads in the country.

Dankano made this disclosure when he participated in the unveiling of the national headquarters of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) in Abuja, recently.

The importance of finding a lasting solution to the deplorable state of our roads cannot be over-emphasised. Bad roads, and of course, the inability of government agencies charged with the responsibility of ensuring that only qualified drivers and roadworthy vehicles are allowed on our roads, led to the spike in truck and tanker accidents in the past couple of months.

According to the Corps Marshall of the Federal Roads Safety Commission (FRSC), Mr. Boboye Oyeyemi, more than 30 trucks and tanker accidents occurred around the country in the past month, wreaking a heavy toll on lives and property. Travellers are often forced to sleep on the highways when such accidents block entire roads.

The time has come for a comprehensive policy to ensure that roads are constantly maintained and new ones constructed since the economy  depends heavily on the roads as other means of transportation – rail, waterways, air – are either troubled or poorly developed for sustainable commercial use.

We need more than a roads bill. We require a more comprehensive agenda for the upgrade of the entire transport sector. To make it work, we need to create a framework that will involve both the government and the private sector in the development of our transport infrastructure. A mere roads bill might just scratch the surface. We need something much more ambitious that can quickly take Nigeria out of her infrastructure deficit.

Something on the scale of the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) will be very useful. It is very handy that the man who oversaw the successful PTF experiment, President Muhammadu Buhari, is now the leader of the country and is in a position to appreciate what can be achieved with a fund of that nature.

We must also see the transport sector as an area that can be developed to create enormous job opportunities. The only way this can be possible is to get both local and foreign investors and entrepreneurs to key into it.

Nothing short of a grand agenda will suffice in solving the problems in our transport sector.


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