Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, has called on the National Assembly to make a law that would empower state governments to rehabilitate or reconstruct federal roads in their domains and collect tolls on them.
Umahi made the appeal during a thanksgiving service organised by the senator representing Ebonyi-Central senatorial district, Obinna Ogba, at Nkalagu, Ishielu Local Government Area of the state, on Sunday.
In statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Emma Anya, on Monday, the governor, described most federal roads in the states as very deplorable.
He said the intervention of the National Assembly would ameliorate the sufferings of motorists and commuters.
Umahi was quoted as saying, “Just a week ago, President Muhammadu Buhari gave us the go-ahead as a state to complete the Abakaliki- Afikpo Road and collect toll on it.
“And so, I am thinking that the National Assembly should look at that direction by coming up with a legislation so that it becomes a law for any state that can complete a federal road project to be allowed to put tollgates on the road. That will assist us because we have come to realise that even though they are federal roads, it is the people that bear the pains caused by the roads.”
The governor also urged the National Assembly to ask the Federal Government to refund over N500bn that various states governments had past spent on federal roads.
He said the refund of such a sum would go a long way in relieving the burden of the state caused by the reduction in federal allocation.
Umahi specifically pleaded with the National Assembly to assist Ebonyi State get back the over N25bn his administration and past governments in the state had spent on federal roads which had constituted deathtraps.
“We have done various federal roads and we asked that this money be refunded. We believe that it will go a long way in assisting the state even if it is 50 per cent,” he pleaded.
He urged the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who was at the event, to consider Ebonyi State as one of the states with internally displaced persons to be assisted by the Federal Government.
In his remarks, Saraki assured that the National Assembly would do its best to assist Ebonyi State in recovering the money spent on federal roads.
He said that the National Assembly would not relent in making laws that would promote the unity of the country.