Hundreds of tanker drivers Thursday stormed Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, for a zonal congress, where their National Chairman, Otunba Salimon Akanni Oladiti, reechoed the call on the Federal Government for the reintroduction of toll gates nationwide.
Oladiti, the National Chairman of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers of the National Union of Petroleum Gas Workers, said it was the considered opinion of all drivers that the re-introduction of such toll fees would ensure regular road maintenance to engender quality, durable and efficient road networks across the land to be in the best position obtainable in the advanced countries.
The congress was kick started with the launch of a book, titled: “Akanbi: The story of a Petroleum Tanker Driver.”
It was held in honour of a former PTD Chairman, Lagos Zonal Council, Comrade Rasak Akanbi, and the book was heavily subscribed by the units, states and zonal councils of PTD with millions of naira realized at the event.
The PTD National Chairman recalled the training of 8,000 of his members in the last one year, majority of who were taken to countries like Italy, Dubai, United Kingdom and others for exposure, training and retraining to ensure they were abreast of modern trend in driving.
Oladiti said the Nigerian Government has what it takes to replicate similar road networks in Nigeria and “maintain such through tolls to be paid by our members and other road users”.
According to him, road carnages and abuse of roads by some truck owners should be a thin of concern to the government and “we at PTD of NUPENG are saying there should be quality control and check on excessive and abuse of our roads by some Nigerians. We are not happy when lives are lost to avoidable accidents on the bad roads which dot the landscape of major highways and that’s why we are training our members locally and internationally to be aware of safety awareness to forestall killings on our roads”.
He hinted that about a week ago, he had the opportunity of informing the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, of the need for the government to step up efforts on infrastructures, power generation and water services for the people to feel the impact of the government in line with the global best practices.
Oladiti also recalled the recent hardship faced by motorists in getting fuel and said if the deregulation of the oil sector would put an end to the incessant hike and scarcity of petroleum products, government should embrace put in place a long term solution to the problem stressing: “The sufferings of the Nigerian populace are becoming unbearable and militating against the socioeconomic advancement of the society itself.”