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Lagos-Calabar highway: Disclose full cost of project, Atiku tackles Tinubu again

….works Minister, Umahi counters ex-VP, says road projects, most cost effective

The presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar, has challenged President Bola Tinubu to disclose the full cost of the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway project.

However, Atiku stated that the Tinubu administration could not continue to dodge the question on the cost implication of a project which would be funded by tax payers money at a time Nigeria was still facing dire economic challenges.

The former vice president said this in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Public Communications, Phrank Shaibu, in Abuja yesterday.

He explained that his principal had through Paul Ibe, his Media Adviser (and not Media Assistant as erroneously stated by Bayo Onanuga), questioned the Tinubu administration’s decision to award the contract to Gilbert Chagoury’s Hitech without competitive bidding.

He had also wondered why the Tinubu administration released N1.06tn for the pilot phase or 6% of the project, which begins at Eko Atlantic and was expected to terminate at the Lekki Deep Sea Port.

“The Tinubu administration cannot continue to respond to public inquiry with insults. They must come clean on this project because Nigerians deserve to know the truth. I, therefore, present six posers to the administration.

“How much is the total cost of the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway? Why is the project being funded by the Nigerian government despite being a PPP?, Why is the project taking off from Chagoury’s Eko Atlantic?, Why is N1.06 trillion being spent on the pilot phase, which is just 47km?

“Why did the N1.06trillion not get the approval of the National Assembly? Why wasn’t there a competitive bidding for the project?

”Finally, how did the Tinubu administration get the design as well as the right of way in just seven months, since it claims the past administration of Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari never touched the project?

“Atiku asked the Tinubu administration to, in the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act, respond to the questions line by line, instead of taking the mundane and jejune route of ‘insulting their way out of every inquiry.”

Works Minister, Umahi says road projects most cost effective

While reacting to a statement credited to the former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, on the 700 km coastal poad projects, the minister described the analysis he made on the coastal road project figures and the economic importance of the coastal highway project as a gross misrepresentation of facts and figures and a ploy to mislead Nigerians by darkening counsel without knowledge.

Umahi said:  “He doesn’t understand figures. I am going to run figures for him to understand, and he will understand how prudent the administration of President Tinubu has been.

“He will understand how prudency is taking the centre stage in this administration. The President has once queried me on the cost of on-going projects nationwide.

“I had to analyse every basic rate of construction materials to arrive at our unit rates. I showed it to Mr. President.

“He still thinks I should bring down the cost of projects.  At the same time, the contractors are crying that I am oppressing them so much by reviewing the costs of their projects downwards.

“They lamented that what they were getting before, they are no longer getting it now. They cried out. But when I run the figures, Nigerians will see what this present administration is doing.

“So, I’m not here to run the figures now. I will do that in a press conference on my visit to Lagos from April 10 to 12, 2024.”

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