OrderPaperToday – Following a hike in airfares across the country, the Nigerian Senate has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a State of Emergency on the nation’s federal roads.
This formed part of the resolutions during plenary on Tuesday, after consideration of a point of order raised by Senator Gershom Bassey (PDP, Cross River).
Coming under Orders 41 and 51 of the Senate Standing Rules, Gershom, lamented that local airfares in Nigeria have risen by 63 percent in response to a spike in the price of aviation fuel and the attendant cost of operation.
He further disclosed that the Federal Government still owes the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) about N850 Billion naira accrued to it by virtue of the 5 percent User Charge on the pump price of petrol, diesel, and international vehicle transit charges.
This he says is provided for in Section 14 of FERMA (Amendment) Act No.18 of 2007.
“The humongous debt owed FERMA by the Federal Government has hampered the effective discharge of FERMA’s primary responsibility of road maintenance and rehabilitation. The rise in airfare has pegged the minimum Economy Class ticket at around N80,000 for travellers buying a one-hour, one-way economy ticket.
The increase in airfares would increase the pressure on the neglected and dilapidated Nigerian roads and further worsen their state.
FERMA had a budgetary approval of just 20 percent of the funds the agency requires for the rehabilitation of about 35,000km of federal roads in 2022,” Gershom stated
Senators who made contributions to the debate urged the federal government to stop paying lip service to development of the nation’s roads.
Accordingly, the House resolved to call on the Federal Government to make good its indebtedness to FERMA. This, the Green Chamber is to enable the agency to carry out its primary responsibility of rehabilitating federal roads, especially in the face of the astronomical increase in airfares.