"This Is Scandalous": Atiku Condemns Lack of Due Process in Lagos-Calabar Highway Project Award

"This Is Scandalous": Atiku Condemns Lack of Due Process in Lagos-Calabar Highway Project Award

  • The Peoples Democratic Party's presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has criticised the federal government's handling of the Lagos to Calabar highway construction
  • Atiku stated that the federal government's decision to award the contract to Gilbert Chagoury's Hitech without following the conventional bidding process was shady
  • He pointed out that the project had commenced as far back as late 2014, during the twilight of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan's administration

The controversy surrounding the award and cost of the Lagos-Calabar Highway Project continues to escalate, with former Vice President and 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, challenging the federal government's handling of the matter.

The project, which entails the construction of a 700km road along the Lagos-Calabar coastal route, has been a subject of contention between Atiku and the presidency regarding its cost and procurement process.

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Former vice president Atiku Abubakar and President Bola Tinubu
Atiku stated that the FG's refusal to tow the competitive bidding path is shady and suspicious. Image: X/@Atiku
Source: Facebook

Atiku insisted that the award of the project did not meet the minimum threshold of due process, despite obtaining approval from the Federal Executive Council, the PUNCH reported.

He contended that the project regained public attention during the final phases of the Goodluck Jonathan administration in November 2014, contrary to the presidency's assertion that it was initiated by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu's administration.

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Atiku challenges works minister

The former vice president criticised the Federal Government's transparency regarding the total cost of the project, challenging Works minister Dave Umahi's disclosure that the highway would cost N4 billion per kilometre.

Umahi's revelation on a recent TV show further fuelled the debate, prompting Atiku to condemn the alleged modification of the original project plan after the contract was awarded to Gilbert Chagoury's Hitech construction company without competitive bidding.

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In a statement issued by his media office, Atiku described the project's estimated cost of N15.6 trillion as wasteful and questioned the rationale behind awarding the contract without exploring competitive bidding options.

He emphasised the importance of competitive bidding in ensuring value for money and criticised Umahi's assertion that only Hitech was capable of executing the project.

Atiku highlighted the discrepancy between the project's budget allocation in the 2024 budget and the amount reportedly released by the Tinubu administration, expressing concerns about the absence of the railway component's cost in Umahi's announcement.

He said:

“Although the National Assembly approved N500m for the project this year, the Tinubu administration has released N1.06tn. That is more than 200 times what is in the Appropriation Act. This is what happens when the National Assembly fails in its duties."

He then called on Umahi to refrain from misleading Nigerians and reiterated the need for transparency and accountability in public procurement processes.

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Atiku knocks Tinubu, asks 7 questions

Meanwhile, Legit.ng had earlier reported that Atiku Abubakar, the PDP flagbearer in the 2023 presidential election, criticised President Bola Tinubu's handling of the Lagos-Calabar highway project.

Atiku, in a statement, called on the presidency to disclose the project's cost to Nigerians and explain why N1.06 trillion was allocated for the pilot phase, representing 6%.

The former vice president also posed seven questions regarding the project and urged the presidency to respond without resorting to insults.

Source: Legit.ng

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