The Federal Government has said that articulated vehicles carrying cargoes exceeding 12 tonnes on federal roads across Nigeria, will henceforth pay between N1 million and N10 million in fines.
This is due to the grave danger these overloaded trucks constitute to themselves, other road users and infrastructure.
This disclosure was made by the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, on Thursday, while inspecting the refurbished Digital Truck Weighbridge at Old Toll Gate along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
Fashola, who said the measure was not just about tolling but geared towards the Highway Development Initiatives of the Federal Government to curb abuse of highways causing quick degeneration, appealed to the media to join in sensitisation to end the ugly trend.
What the Minister of Works and Housing said
Fashola said, “No matter how beautiful, how well designed the highways are, they are built with a specification, once you don’t comply with those specifications you are abusing or misusing the assets.
“Now, those specifications are global. So, they are not Nigerian made, every country in the world has subscribed to them. And so, if we see things in other parts that we like how they look, it is because they are properly used.
“Nigeria is a signatory to the ECOWAS Axle Load Regulation signed by all ECOWAS countries, and one of the first things President Buhari did in the first term of his administration was to ratify that convention locally.
“So, those are the regulations that you see, that we have published on that wall just to further educate people, they have been gazetted showing the approved axles per truck and type of truck and what each truck can carry.’’
He said as Minister, his office empowered him to make regulations, hence the new calibrated bills for contravention of axle loads.
Fashola said the fines against erring articulated vehicles were from N1million to over N10 million to serve as a deterrent.
He said, “The reason we have also done this is we want to make it cheaper to comply and very expensive to break the law.’’
He said the federal government was fixing weighbridges to regulate axle load to increase the lifespan of the highways while at the same time creating thousands of jobs.
The Minister said the weigh bridges would generate 50,000 direct jobs and 200,000 indirect employment opportunities to boost the economic livelihood of Nigerians.
Fashola said the weighbridge was among others built with international standards to preserve the lifespan of the roads and that it would be put to use upon completion of the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project.
The Minister explained that the planned return of tolling and the weighbridge were part of a Highway Development Initiative that had the enforcement side, and economic value through direct and indirect employment opportunities.
What you should know
A weighbridge or a truck scale is a set of scales used to weigh bulk items. The scales are mounted by the weighbridge manufacturer on a concrete surface. It has an electronic or digital monitor which displays the weight of vehicles. The idea behind installing weighbridges is to prevent truckers from overloading their trucks and damaging road infrastructures.