HURIWA Calls for Suspension of Lagos – Calabar Coastal Highway

HURIWA Calls for Suspension of Lagos – Calabar Coastal Highway

…Says It Is Highway to Political Corruption

…Calls for a TV debate on the Calabar-Lagos Coastal Highway between President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria HURIWA has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to suspend the execution of the controversial Calabar-Lagos Coastal Highway for the issues of opaqueness, a lack of transparency in the award of the project and the alleged affiliation of the family of President Tinubu to the contractor awarded the job are cleared.

The Rights group said the administration will muddy its credential should it continuously push through the hurried execution of the Controversial Calabar-Lagos Coastal Highway even at a time that the costs of living crises have threatened the lives of millions of citizens of Nigeria.

HURIWA said the frenetic speed with which the minister of works Dave Umahi defends this hurriedly packaged project and attacks critics of this project speaks volume of an administration that has something to hide.

The Rights group stated that the office of the President should clarify the report that the son of president Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Mr. Seyi Tinubu is allegedly a board director of CDK integrated industry which is a subsidiary of the Chagoury group, owned by one of the President’s business affiliates Mr. Gilbert Chagoury just as the Chagoury group is reportedly handling the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway.

Advocating for an urgent public television debate on the road project between President Tinubu accompanied by his works minister versus the key opposition leaders in Nigeria: Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Mr. Peter Obi, HURIWA said the outcome of the TV debate will help shape the public understanding of the fundamental issues surrounding the Calabar-Lagos Coastal Highway.

The right group in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko stated that building such a highly expensive road infrastructure that the job awarding process did not follow the provisions of the Bureau of Public procurement and the bidding process was never observed by non-governmental organisations with specialisation in observing award of contracts under the BPE ACT, is not desirable and should be halted now.

 “We are asking President Tinubu to stop the construction of the corruption-ridden Calabar-Lagos Coastal Highway because it is simply a highway to monumental political corruption. We are demanding that President Tinubu should respond to the following lines of inquiries on this project: (1) Why is Nigeria seeking to build a Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway at a time of grave economic hemorrhage and 133 million Households are multidimensionally poor? And fundamentally, of the places it could possibly start off from is Lagos, it just has to start off from Eko Atlantic, says experts, which is or will be the preserve of the privileged, ultra monied elite.

Why is it so? (2.) A section of the media has reported that ⁠the original coastal road as the people were told during the construction of the Lekki expressway/toll gates, was the Water Corporation Road. Nigerians were told it was going to be an alternative route to the tolled road. Today, a large expanse of that road has been abandoned and is virtually an eyesore. But we have chosen to ignore it and instead start a brand new “Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway”. Why, we asked, to echo the inquiry of this credible media platform?’’ said HURIWA

HURIWA also wonders why ⁠the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway is such an ‘urgent’ project that work on it commenced even before it was announced to the public.

‘’We agree with millions of shocked Nigerians that this is an unprecedented feat and absolutely strange for any government project in this part of the world, most especially now that Nigeria is facing severe economic adversities. We note that typically, such projects are slow to take off and are riddled with delays. In this case it’s so very different. What’s the great, big hurry and why?’’

HURIWA is challenging the Federal Government to clarify the postulation that this is the only project of this magnitude Nigerians have ever seen/heard of where an EIA stakeholder meeting is being convened AFTER the project has commenced. It appears the views/concerns of stakeholders and the potential environmental impact of the project are of absolutely no concern to the project owners/sponsors.

‘’We agree with the analysis of a respected expert in the media that this is particularly strange given the centrality today of Environmental Social Governance factors to project financing and investment decisions.’’

HURIWA affirmed that it is factually and universally acceptable that globally, there are major concerns over the impact on coastal cities of rising sea levels, erosion and climate change. According to some reports compiled by tested, trusted and credible environmental experts, Lagos is particularly at risk from rising sea levels.

‘’We in the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA are shocked that our government elected by the people or so it seems, appears to be embarking on constructing a coastal highway at a cost of N4B per KM with no hard evidence of having conducted a proper EIA. Why is this so and why the insane hurry?

HURIWA is demanding clarification regarding ⁠the opacity about the source of funds and the nature of the so-called agreement between government and the private sector in the funding arrangements which to us in the organised civil Rights community in Nigeria makes it all even more worrying.

We are made aware that the trajectory of this entire transaction on this controversial road is irregular because first the contractor was going to self-fund and then suddenly, – change of plan – the government is now going to fund. But we the people of Nigeria don’t know the full cost, nor was any competitive bidding done. Why this egregious breach of the laws governing public procurement?’’ HURIWA questioned.

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