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Umahi Chides Atiku Over Lagos-Calabar Super Highway Project Comment

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has been chided over his criticisms of the Lagos-Calabar Super Highway Project.

The Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi stated that Atiku’s comments are not only hypocritical but are motivated by ambition and cheap political calculations.

Umahi stated this through his Special Adviser on Media, Hon. Orji Uchenna Orji, in Abuja, on Wednesday, accusing Atiku of promoting false analogies to discredit the procurement process which led to the award of Section 1 of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project.

Orji said, “I wish to categorically state that such viewpoints are false analogies, conceived by the fertile imaginations of the former Vice President and which are clearly superficial, hypocritical, diversionary, and undoubtedly motivated by ambitious political calculations.”

He noted that the criticism of the project award and cost by the former Vice President, as well as his accusation that the firm picked to execute the contract, were motivated by ignorance. 

Orji specifically addressed Atiku’s claims that the contract was awarded to Hitech Construction Company Nigeria Limited because of a personal relationship between the President of Nigeria and the Chairman of Hitech, Chagoury, and that the demolition exercise was completed in a hurry, posing a threat to foreign investment.

Orji said, “These accusations or rather, viewpoints, are, to say the least, intrinsically superficial, baseless, self-serving and politically motivated to imprint malice in the minds of unsuspecting members of the public, especially the gullible.

“The Honourable Minister of Works, His Excellency, Sen. Engr. Dr. Nweze David Umahi CON, has in different media fora decapitated the insinuations of the former Vice President and other desperate persons when he gave insights into the award process, the unit cost comparisons, the project review dimensions, the demolition notices and compensation plans as well as those affected by the demolition.

“For the avoidance of doubt, th Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project complied 100% with the provisions of the Procurement Act and was awarded based on the EPC+ F procurement process, that is to say, the project is an unsolicited bid done on EPC+F.

“Under this model of procurement, the investor provides all the designs, part of the financing and construction, while the FGN pays counterpart funds.

“The bid of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project came through this process. The Ministry received the bid, worked on it, and sent the same to the Bureau of Public Procurement ( BPP).

“The BPP worked on it in accordance with the stipulations of the Procurement Act and came up with a competitive price slightly lower than the Ministry’s price and even lower than the cost of similar projects awarded five years ago, including the Bodo-Bonny project awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc.”

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