Improve Nigeria’s inland waterways, suspend Lagos-Calabar coastal highway project now — Osita Chidoka advises Tinubu


By Abiodun OBA


A Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Osita Chidoka, has advised President Bola Tinubu to improve Nigeria’s inland waterways, build small seaports across the coastal areas to move goods from one coastal city to another by ship and suspend the Lagos-Calabar coastal road project.

Chidoka made this call while speaking in an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

The former Aviation minister said if he was the President, he would stop the project, considering the controversy it has generated.

He said, “Stop it now and subject it to public conversation because the financiers cannot raise finance for this project except if they use budgetary funds to fund it. Nobody can raise finance if they know they had no competitive bidding.”

According to him, the award of the contract for the coastal road did not follow due process and the whole process was shrouded in secrecy and therefore lacked transparency.

Chidoka said, “If what the minister (Dave Umahi) said is correct, then there is an absolute breach because the first thing that would have happened is that ICRC would have received this.

“The second thing is that even with the designs done by them and the desire to be able to get funding, neither the IFC, World Bank, European Bank, African Development Bank would fund a project that doesn’t go through competitive bidding.

“Ask any of the financial institutions, where would they get the money from? It was never advertised,” he said.

Chidoka said the President has alternative projects to embark on as legacy projects. According to him, Tinubu can redesign the national highway, authorise a new National Highway Act to dualise the existing highways and connect them to the airports and seaports.

The Lagos-Calabar coastal road project has met with criticisms from Nigerians, with many questioning the need to embark on such a monumental project at a time when the nation is borrowing to execute existing projects.

Peter Obi of the Labour Party, LP, and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP have criticized the project.

The Federal Government recently started the construction of the 700km Lagos-Calabar coastal road which is being done by Hitech Construction Company Ltd.

The House of Representatives, on Thursday, passed a resolution to investigate the procurement process in the award of the contract of the ₦15trn coastal road.

The House said the 2007 Procurement Act was violated and that certain approvals by the National Assembly as required by the law were not given.

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