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The Muhammadu government on Wednesday stirred what can be described as a hornet’s nest when its Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, revealed that plans were at the advanced stage to return toll gate on the federal highways, stressing that there was no law that stopped the government from having toll gate on federal roads.

Fashola, flanked by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said, “There is no reason why we can’t toll, there was a policy of the government to abolish tolls or as it were, dismantle toll plaza but there is no law that prohibits tolling in Nigeria today.

“We expect to return toll plazas, We have concluded their designs of what they will look like, what materials they will be rebuilt with, what new considerations must go into them. What we are looking at now and trying to conclude is how the bank end runs.”

This disclosure, which was the high point of the press briefing at the end of the Federal Executive Council meeting, came fifteen years after the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo scrapped toll gates across the country.

It also came at a time when President Buhari had declared that the federal government will not inflict additional hardship on citizens, rather it will keep seeking ways to ameliorate their sufferings and create a more enabling environment for everyone to thrive.

“I want to assure you that, as an administration, we have no intention of inflicting any additional hardship on Nigerians,’’ Buhari had told the new executive of Trade Union  led by its President, Quadri Olaleye, at the State .

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As is to be expected, this planned reintroduction of toll gates on the nation’s highways has started generating reactions from some Nigerians across board, including the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

PDP Blows Hot

The Peoples Democratic Party, in a statement issued Wednesday by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said “such insensitive idea, in the midst of excruciating economic hardship and high costs of living occasioned by the harsh policies of the Buhari administration, is completely ill-conceived and anti-people.”

The party insisted that the planned toll gates at best, “amounts to executive bullying which cannot be justified under any guise as it will lead to more increase in costs of goods and services across the country”.

It added, “Only recently, President Buhari approved the increase of Value Added Tax, VAT, from 5% to 7.2% despite outcry by Nigerians, who are also being made to pay exorbitant tariffs for electricity and other essential services.

“Since President Buhari came into office in 2015, his administration had continued to increase prices and impose all manner of levies on Nigerians which proceeds are being frittered by the cabal in the presidency leading to a bleeding economy and despondency among the citizenry.

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“The PDP says that instead of putting more pressure on already impoverished Nigerians by introducing toll gates at this point in time, President Buhari should exert himself, seek ways of creating wealth out of the abundant resources at the disposal of his administration or make haste to surrender the reign of governance to more competent hands.

“Nigerians could recall that the PDP administration, in keeping with our determination to ensure the wellbeing and economic prosperity of our citizens, dismantled toll gates, cut tax profiles and applied our energies towards wealth creation.

“It is therefore certain that if our nation were under a PDP administration, as desired by Nigerians, competent hands would have been on the deck to proffer ways to create wealth for governance instead of turning our citizens into vassals who are overburdened by heavy taxes.”

Nigerians Vent Too

Since the story broke, Nigerians have taken to social media platforms available to them, particularly Opera News comment section and Twitter, to air their views regarding Fashola’s disclosure. These views are presented below:

 

 

 

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Abass Sulaiman Adegoke, well known as Adegoke is a student of Federal Polytechnic Ede studying Civil Engineering, He is a media enthusiast, loves traveling, and has a special interest in personal development.

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COVID-19: Nigeria records 643 new COVID-19 cases, total now 34,259

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has recorded 643 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 34,257.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) made this known via its handle on Wednesday.

“On the 15th of July 2020, 643 new confirmed cases and 6 deaths were recorded in Nigeria. No new state has reported a case in the last 24 hours.

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“Till date, 34259 cases have been confirmed, 13999 cases have been discharged and 760 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

“The 643 new cases are reported from 19 states- (230), Oyo (69), FCT (51), Edo (43), Osun (35), Rivers (30), Ebonyi (30), Kaduna (28), Ogun (27), Ondo (23), Plateau (20), Benue (17), Enugu (16), Imo (10), Delta (6), Kano (4), Nasarawa (2), Kebbi (1), Ekiti (1),” the NCDC said.

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WASSCE: No going back on suspension of WAEC exam yet – Nigerian govt

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Amidst criticisms by many Nigerians and an opposition leader, the Nigerian government has defended its decision not to allow students in the country take part in this year’s West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

NAIJASURF reported the government’s decision last week amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

The education minister, Adamu Adamu, explained the government’s decision last week. He said the government was concerned about the spread of COVID-19 should it allow the students congregate for the examinations, organised by the West African Examination Council (WAEC).

The stance was criticised by opposition leader Atiku Abubakar and the of Representatives with the lawmakers urging the government to rescind the decision.

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However, the federal government reiterated its stance on Wednesday but said it was meeting stakeholders on the matter.

“We are still meeting with parents over the decision of the ministry,” the minister of state for education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, told journalists after Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting.

“What the minister (Mr Adamu) said reflects the true position of the ministry; we are not confident yet that everywhere is safe. The numbers from the NCDC are still alarming and we have put this before parents and all the stakeholders in the education ecosystem, we are still meeting with them. In fact, there’s a stakeholders’ meeting convened for Monday.

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“WAEC on its own part is also negotiating with other West African countries to look at possible shift in date. Once they are through with that meeting and hopefully when we are through with the consultation with stakeholders, if there’s any change in the ministry’s position, we will communicate.

“But as it stands, the position of the Honourable Minister, as communicated to you last week, remains the position of the ministry until further evidence to the contrary or further agreements that may alter those arise,” Mr Nwajiuba said.

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