Tinubu awarded Lagos-Calabar Highway contract to his 2023 election sponsorers and foreign business associates – Atiku

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“Rather than improving the ease of doing business, the Tinubu administration had shown to the world that his personal business interest and that of his family would always be prioritized over and above national interest.” Atiku

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The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP presidential candidate for 2023, Atiku Abubakar, has condemned the lack of proper notification as regards the demolition of properties in the Oniru corridor, including parts of Lagos State’s landmark, as well as tourist and recreational attractions, in order to make way for the Coastal Highway.

According to Atiku, the Tinubu-led government’s bad choice regarding the Lagos-Calabar Highway is one of the major reasons behind Nigeria’s continuous failure to draw in foreign direct investment.

Atiku claimed in a statement issued on Sunday by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, that President Bola Tinubu and Gilbert Chagoury, the owner of Hitech, the contractor in charge of the highway project, are the only reasons why the Coastal Highway project is moving more quickly.

Atiku added that the contract was granted in violation of procurement regulations. He further highlighted that the involvement of President Bola Tinubu’s son and his associates on the boards of companies belonging to Gilbert Chagoury presents a clear conflict of interest.

He stated, “The fact that President Bola Tinubu’s son and his surrogates are on the board of companies owned by Gilbert Chagoury constitutes a conflict of interest.

The former Vice President noted that “Tinubu’s son, Seyi, is a director on the board of CDK Integrated Industries, a subsidiary of the Chagoury Group, which manufactures ceramic tiles and sanitary towels.

The statement partly read, “The former Vice President restated that it has become obvious even to the undiscerning that the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway is being done in a hurry purely because of the business relationship between Tinubu and Gilbert Chagoury, the owner of Hitech, the contractor that was awarded the contract for the highway project in contravention of the procurement laws. It is on record that this project is the most expensive single project ever embarked upon by the Nigerian government.

The fact that it is happening at a time when Nigeria is facing its worst economic crisis ever is a red flag.

“To add insult to injury, this project that is being done more than $13bn was awarded without competitive bidding. From all indications, the so-called Badagry-Sokoto highway would be awarded similarly at an enormous cost to taxpayers purely because Tinubu has put his interest ahead of the Nigerian people.”

“Atiku said the demolition of tourist and recreational facilities and other properties within the Oniru corridor, including parts of Landmark, without ample notice, is one of the reasons foreign direct investments continue to elude the country.

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He argued that “rather than improving the ease of doing business, the Tinubu administration had shown to the world that his personal business interest and that of his family would always be prioritized over and above national interest.”

Atiku noted that investors observe the treatment of local businesses and would avoid regions where their investments lack protection.

The former PDP presidential candidate furthered , “Tinubu has been globetrotting in search of foreign direct investments. He claims to have secured over $30 billion from various companies, but none has been forthcoming. Rather, all manufacturing firms have been posting heavy losses while some are exiting due to his poorly implemented exchange rate unification policy with even Aliko Dangote describing it as a huge mess at the recent annual general meeting of Dangote Sugar Refinery.

“The IMF in its latest report stated that Nigeria will by the end of the year become the 4th largest economy in Africa behind South Africa, Egypt and Algeria, a disgraceful development for a nation which was the largest in Africa by a mile when the PDP left the stage in 2015.

“Investors are seeing how local businesses are being treated and will not come to a place where their investments will not be protected. In saner climes, businesses such as Landmark would have been given at least two years’ notice for effective planning. But Tinubu’s eagerness to satisfy his business partners impaired his ability to coordinate the project properly.

“The awarding of the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway was rushed; the environmental impact assessment report was not even completed; the right of way for the 700 km stretch of the highway project was not secured; it was converted from a PPP to a government-funded project within the twinkle of an eye. The N500m that was approved by the National Assembly for the project was ignored, while over N1tn was released by Tinubu’s administration without approval from the National Assembly.”


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