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News - North Central - FCT Updated: April 11, 2024

Atiku challenges presidency over Lagos-Calabar highway project

By Adekunle Obas
April 11, 2024
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Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has reiterated his concerns regarding the award of the Lagos-Calabar Highway Project, insisting that it did not adhere to the minimum standards of due process.

Following approval from the Federal Executive Council, the Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, announced the commencement of construction on the 700km road.

This sparked a media exchange between Atiku and the Presidency concerning the project's cost and history.

Atiku maintained that the project gained attention during the final phases of the Goodluck Jonathan administration in November 2014. However, the Presidency countered this, asserting that the initiative originated during President Bola Ahmed Tinubu's administration.

In response to the debate, Atiku challenged the Federal Government to disclose the total cost of the project. Umahi, during a TV appearance, stated that the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway would cost N4 billion per kilometre, contradicting Atiku's claim of N8 billion per km.

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Atiku criticized Umahi for allegedly altering the original project plan after Gilbert Chagoury’s Hitech was awarded the contract without competitive bidding.

He described Umahi's claim that the project would cost N15.6 trillion as wasteful and potentially fraudulent.

According to Atiku, the budget allocated for the project in the 2024 budget was N500 million, whereas the Tinubu administration had reportedly released N1.06 trillion for the project. He questioned the discrepancy and the lack of clarity regarding the railway component's cost.

Atiku also questioned Umahi's assertion that only Hitech was capable of executing the project, pointing out that competitive bidding ensures value for money.

He emphasized that reputable firms from the United States, China, and South Africa have successfully undertaken similar projects.

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