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‘Erroneous And Unwarranted’ – Presidency Replies Atiku Over Comments On Lagos-Calabar Highway Project

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The Presidency has faulted the comments made by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on the construction of the 700km Lagos-Calabar coastal highway.

Recall that Atiku had in a statement on Sunday issued by his media aide, Paul Ibe, said the Bola Tinubu administration is engaged in questionable dealings over the coastal highway construction.

The former vice president claimed that President Bola Tinubu puts personal business interests before Nigerian infrastructure and there is so much secrecy with the project.

Atiku also alleged that the project’s allocation to Gilbert Chagoury’s Hitech Construction Company Limited (Hitech) was devoid of any documented competitive bidding process or decision by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

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Reacting to Atiku’s comments in an interview with The Punch, the Special Adviser to President Tinubu on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, described the claims as “erroneous” and “irresponsible.”

Onanuga also accused Atiku of running down the Tinubu government, saying that such comments were unwarranted and false.

The presidential aide asserted that the construction of the coastal highway has four or five phases, adding that it is a new project and not awarded by Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

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He said: “So what Atiku has done is just an attempt to run down the government. It’s unwarranted and very irresponsible of them to have said what they said.

“They are confusing many things. Number one, the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road was never awarded by Goodluck Jonathan, Muhammadu Buhari. It is a new project.

“So all these he is talking about, Jonathan awarding it to the China Civil Engineering Construction Company at N1.97bn, was about the rail line from Lagos to Calabar, not the coastal road.

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“They collated a lot of errors in the race to denigrate Bola Tinubu. They didn’t get it right. Comparing the cost is unfounded. They are not related.

“In fact, it will make the journey from Lagos to Calabar short by I think about 200 kilometres. So, how can anyone in his right mind attack a project or an administration doing such a project that would better our country?

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a step. What the Federal Executive Council has approved is just the first phase. The same Federal Executive Council will approve the second, third, or fourth phases.

“This project has four or five phases. Who says the next one won’t start from Calabar?”

Ige Olugbenga is a fine-grained journalist. He loves the smell of a good lead and has a penchant for finding out something nobody else knows.

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