Atiku challenges Tinubu to disclose cost of Lagos-Calabar highway project

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

Atiku threw the challenge in a statement on Tuesday.

He 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.

The Federal Government recently announced the start of construction on the 700km Lagos-Calabar coastal highway.

The Minister of Works, David Umahi, revealed this in a statement last week by his Special Adviser on Media, Orji Uchenna, in Abuja.

However, querying the contractor, the former vice president, through his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, questioned the Tinubu administration’s decision to award the contract to Gilbert Chagoury’s Hitech without competitive bidding.

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

The statement signed on Tuesday in Abuja by the Special Assistant to the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar read in part, “The Tinubu administration cannot continue to respond to the 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.

“1. How much is the total cost of the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway?

2. Why is the project being funded by the Nigerian government despite being a PPP?

3. Why is the project taking off from Chagoury’s Eko Atlantic? 4. Why is N1.06tn being spent on the pilot phase, which is just 47km?

5. Why did the N1.06tn not get the approval of the National Assembly?

6. Why wasn’t there a competitive bidding for the project?

7. Finally, how did the Tinubu administration get the design as well as the right of way in just 7 months, since it claims the past administration of Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari never touched the project?”

Atiku further charged 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.

The President’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, had, in a statement, told Atiku to get his facts right about the project.

“In his desperation to always want to hug the headlines as a self-appointed opposition leader, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has allowed himself to be led into a blind alley again by his poorly informed aides,” the statement read.

Onanuga said Abubakar made “false allusions” about the project in his “futile attempt to denigrate and find faults in the audacious and transformational” road construction initiative.

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