Politics

JUST IN: Presidency blasts Atiku for criticizing Lagos-Calabar coastal highway project

In a scathing response to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s recent criticism of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal highway project, the Presidency has launched a vehement counterattack, accusing Atiku of spreading misinformation and engaging in political posturing.

Atiku’s comments were made in a press statement signed by his media assistant, Paul Ibe.

The former Vice President faulted President Tinubu’s administration on the 700km Lagos -Calabar coastal road project, saying that the project “again inadvertently revealed its penchant for dubious and shady deals.”

However, the Presidency has swiftly rebuked Atiku’s claims, labelling them as baseless and ill-informed.

According to a statement by presidential media aide Bayo Onanuga, Atiku’s criticism reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the significance of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal highway project and its potential to drive economic growth and development across Nigeria’s coastal regions.

Part of the statement read: “Seeking to be a kill-joy, Atiku Abubakar engaged in red-herring by raising ill-thought-out allegations that only exposed his inadequacies and those of his team in getting the basic facts on an issue he badly seeks to nail the government.

“We have decided, however, to respond to Atiku’s misrepresentation of facts in matters of the coastal road if only to set the record straight so that unsuspecting Nigerians are not misled and misinformed.

“We owe it a sacred duty to ensure Atiku and his handlers do not continue to spread disinformation as they wallow in their politics of hatred.

“Contrary to the claims in Atiku’s endorsed press statement, at no time did the administrations of former Presidents Muhammadu Buhari and Goodluck Jonathan award contracts for the construction of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal highway to any company at any varied and revised amount. So the question of costs comparison does not arise.

“The contract that was awarded was that of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Rail. The rail was designed as part of the standard guage national rail network.

“The contract was awarded on August 4, 2021, by the Federal Executive Council presided over by former Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, at the cost of $ 11.17 billion. The contract was to be completed in six years. The project didn’t take off.

“The Lagos-Calabar Coastal rail project has always been on the card. It was another testament to the failure of the previous PDP-led government that it could not get it off the ground in the 16 years it held sway.

“The Lagos-Calabar Coastal highway and Lagos-Calabar Coastal rail are two distinct projects. It is unfortunate that the former Vice President is confused about the two projects.

“President Tinubu should be praised for having the courage to embark on this transformative project and not vilified as Atiku Abubakar unsuccessfully sought to do.”

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