By Chukwuma Umeorah

President Bola Tinubu officially flagged off the construction of the 700km Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway on Sunday.

During the flag-off event in Lagos, President Tinubu highlighted the project’s potential to connect communities, create opportunities, and enhance economic activities across the nation, opening a new economic window for over 30 million people. He described the highway as more than just a road but as critical infrastructure that would promote national prosperity and provide direct jobs for thousands during and after its construction.

“In his words, ‘Today is my day to brag, we are here, and Renewed Hope is here. The dream is realizable.

“During the period of construction, the road would provide direct employment for thousands of people and indirect employment for many more Nigerians. It would open economic opportunities for millions of people. It would fast-track community development and give over 30 million people improved access to production and marketing centres. It would equally reduce commute time for individuals and businesses.”

The road, stretching across Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, Cross River, and Akwa Ibom, is designed to enhance connectivity and stimulate economic activities, significantly boosting Nigeria’s economy.

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The President added that with such a legacy project, generations yet unborn will have good memories to treasure. ‘We have set a standard that would outlive all of us. That is how to build the future.’

Tinubu praised the Hi-Tech Construction and the Chagoury group of companies, for their commitment to the project. He urged other stakeholders and well-meaning Nigerians to continue to invest in Nigeria. The President expressed his vision of building a prosperous nation that future generations could cherish, assuring all stakeholders present of the timely completion.

Estimated to cost a whopping N15 trillion with funding arranged through an EPC+F (Engineering, Procurement, Construction, and Financing) model, the highway is expected to generate substantial revenue through tolls, tourism, and other businesses and economic establishments that it would attract.

The Minister of Works, David Umahi, in his address provided details on the project’s procurement process, affirming that all due processes were followed, including the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and budgetary requirements. He stated that the highway would cost N4 billion per kilometre. ‘The project is procured and to be completed in sections. We have completed 3km of the first section, and the second section has been awarded, which is going to stop at the border between Ogun and Ondo.”

Umahi added that the highway will have a transformative impact on the agricultural and tourism sectors in Cross River State and other regions.

The President, during his visit, commissioned several other projects to mark one year in office. Projects commissioned include the reconstructed Apapa-Oworonshoki-Ojota-Oshodi Expressway, and the rehabilitated Third Mainland Bridge, among others.

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