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Suleiman Nazif, left, second row, in the Senate chamber: Voting to spread poverty

For whom the gate tolls

Nigeria’s well-paid, well fed and well-pampered senators once again showed that they are not on the side of the people they are supposed to represent. The Senate on Tuesday passed a motion to reintroduce toll gates on Nigerian federal highways.

The motion was moved by Senator Suleiman Nazif, representing Bauchi-North Senatorial District. The Senate said there would be collaborations with other relevant bodies to study the toll gate policy and find “effective and efficient ways to carry out the policy in order to generate more funds for roads maintenance.”

If the Senate is truly interested in studying toll gate policy, it should do no worse than read Naijiant.com’s offering on the issue in response to when Minister for Works Babatunde Fashola floated the idea in December last year.

How to set a common sense agenda for change for Fashola

Tolls are clearly a form of regressive taxation that hit the poor disproportionately and the hardest. It is a further drain on their dwindling incomes and the increase in prices that comes with the increase in cost of transportation drives more people further into poverty. These are issues that the best-paid legislators in the world are completely disconnected from.

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