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Atiku Insists Lagos-Calabar Highway Project Award Did not Meet Due Process

The PDP’s presidential candidate in the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar, has criticized the Works Minister, Dave Umahi, for his statement that the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project would tentatively cost N15.6 trillion, calling it a wasteful and fraudulent claim. Atiku also criticized Umahi for changing the project’s initial plan after awarding the contract to Gilbert Chagoury’s Hitech without competitive bidding.

Umahi, during his media appearances on select TV stations on Thursday, stated that the road project would cost N15.6 trillion ($13bn at N1,200/$1), with the rail passing through the road being costed separately. However, Atiku responded by stating that the tentative cost is equivalent to the combined budget of all 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), which is N15.91 trillion.

Atiku also pointed out that Umahi had previously stated that Hitech would fully fund the project, but later announced that Hitech could only raise 6% of the money for the pilot phase, which he described as deceitful.

Furthermore, Atiku noted that the project was captured in the 2024 budget as the Lagos-Port Harcourt coastal highway and was put at a cost of N500m, but the Tinubu administration released N1.06tn, which is more than 200 times the amount in the Appropriation Act.

Atiku also questioned how much the project would cost if the railway component was included, as the N15.6 trillion announced by Umahi did not include the cost of the railway.

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