From Emmanuel Uzor, Awka

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) and former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, has expressed concerns about the cost of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway Project.

While acknowledging its potential benefits, Obi raised questions regarding the timing and prioritisation of such a monumental venture.

In a series of posts on his X handle, yesterday, the former Anambra governor said government should focus on completing the countless abandoned road projects across the country.

He highlighted the pressing issue of numerous uncompleted roads across the country, emphasising their role in economic growth and regional connectivity and listed critical roads in various zones.

With the Federal Ministry of Works allocating a capital budget of N892,461,262,656.00 for 2024, in addition to funding from multilateral loan projects and other sources, Obi questioned the wisdom of embarking on another massive project that may not be completed for the next 20 or 30 years.

He warned against exacerbating the problem of abandoned and uncompleted projects that do not contribute to economic growth.

“At the forefront of my concerns is the pressing issue of numerous uncompleted roads scattered across the country many of which have become hazardous death traps and security risks.

“Most of these roads, vital for economic growth, regional connectivity, and overall development, have been under construction for several years if not decades now and are unlikely to be completed any time soon due to poor and unplanned funding.”

Obi said despite the envisaged benefits of the coastal highway, its funding would “only exacerbate the problem of abandoned uncompleted projects that are not contributing to economic growth and overall development” of the country.

He said the project may not be completed in the next 30 years and advised the Federal Government to prioritise the urgent needs of Nigerians.

Related News

“We must allocate resources towards repairing and completing existing infrastructure crucial for the well-being and safety of our society, before embarking on new projects, no matter their perceived benefits.

“Let us prioritise the urgent needs of our people and ensure our investments serve the collective good of the nation.

“In any development formula, the primary focus should be on completing and rehabilitating existing infrastructure rather than embarking on colossal new projects that may never reach completion within the next 30 years,” he said.

Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, had said the 700 km Lagos-Calabar coastal road will be constructed at N15 trillion. He said a kilometre of the road would cost N4 billion.

Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, had also described the project as a ploy to steal public fund.

He noted that the Tinubu administration had while making the old project appear new, refused to make public the cost to tax payers.

In response to the controversy trailing the award of the road contract, Senator Umahi said at a press conference/stakeholders’ meeting, that due process was followed in the award of the contract  to Hitech Construction Company without going through a public tender system.

Umahi stated that competence and track record, especially given that Hi-tech was instrumental to the reclamation work on the beach in Lagos, were some of the reasons the company was picked.

He maintained that the announcement that the project had been awarded to Gilbert Chagoury’s Hitech Construction Company Limited (Hitech), an alleged friend of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, without any record of a competitive bidding or a decision by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) smacked of opaqueness.

“Till date, the Tinubu administration has refused to reveal how much the project will cost in total. Umahi, who even came on Channels Television recently, evaded questions as to the total cost of the project.