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News - North Central - FCT Updated: April 09, 2024

Cost of Lagos-Calabar highway to be disclosed Friday — Umahi tells Atiku

By Maureen Okpe
April 09, 2024
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Minister of Works, David Umahi, has said the total cost and breakdown of the ongoing Lagos-Calabar coastal highway project will be made available to the public on Friday.

This was  made known on Tuesday, in a statement signed by the minister’s Special Adviser on Media, Orji Uchenna, in Abuja.

Umahi explained that despite the soaring costs of materials in the construction industry due to commodity price inflation and supply chain disruptions, the ministry is committed to prudence, cost-effectiveness, promptness, and quality delivery of road projects remains unmatched.

The minister’s assurance comes against the backdrop of serious contentions in recent days over the costs and bidding process of the 700km coastal highway project.

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 general election, Atiku Abubakar, had questioned the Tinubu administration’s decision to award the contract to Gilbert Chagoury’s Hitech without competitive bidding, daring the president to disclose the full cost of the Lagos-Calabar highway project

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

The former vice president said that the Tinubu administration could not continue to keep silent on how much public funds would be spent on the project at a time when Nigeria was still facing dire economic challenges.

Reacting to the issues during his inspection visit to the ongoing rehabilitation of the Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriageway, the works minister described the analysis made on the coastal road project figures and the economic importance of the all-important 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 (Atiku Abubakar) 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 centre stage in this administration. The President has once queried me on the cost of ongoing projects nationwide. 

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"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.

 

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Maureen Okpe

Maureen is a media practitioner and an impeccable writer with close to 4 years active experience wor...

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