Lagos-Calabar coastal highway: CUPP kicks against award of contract, N3,000 per toll gate

The Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, has accused the All Progressives Congress, APC, government of having failed to deliver on the promises of open government and has decided to use funds from the nation’s treasury to reward their friends and cronies at the expense of taxpayers.

CUPP was reacting to controversies surrounding the award of the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway.

The Minister of Works, David Umahi, had disclosed that the coastal highway will cost N4 billion per kilometre and not the N8 billion per km as claimed in some quarters.

The minister also dismissed claims that the project did not follow the due procurement process, stating that the contract was awarded on a counterpart-funding basis and not on a Public-Private Partnership as widely claimed.

In a statement signed by its General Secretary, Ameh Peter Yakubu on Friday, CUPP joined the voices saying that the contract lacked transparency and due process.

The Coalition maintained that all government contracts must follow open and competitive bidding process, insisting that the cost of building the road per kilometer, as disclosed by the minister, is outrageous and unacceptable.

“We are all already worried that due process was not followed in both the selection and award of the contract for the project.

“The intention of t Federal government that vehicles would pay an average of N3,000 per toll gate is not acceptable and should be rejected by all Nigerian citizens as this will further increase the burden on the suffering masses of our country.

“Anything above 300 Naira will create a lot of hardship, but worst case scenario 500 Naira will be totally intolerable. Let the people breath.

“We all know that there are institutions, bodies and agencies that are created by law to take care of matters of this nature, ranging from the Federal Executive Council, which sits to consider the economic imperative of this kind of gigantic project, the National Assembly which has been constitutionally mandated to appropriate the funds.

“Bureau of Public Procurement which looks at the entities that will execute the contract without the federal government spending way above and beyond what the project would ordinarily have cost, and etc.

“Do please remember that in constitutional democracy which we practice, funds are not arbitrarily expended without the authorisation of the legislative arm, which controls the purse of the nation and the president ought not to have doled out a trillion naira plus to his friends without authorisation.

“But in the event that the coastal highway is a build, operate, and transfer project, due process must also be followed; the aforementioned institutions and agencies ought also have been put in the know with their input taken into consideration.

“If President Tinubu, as reported in the dailies and social media, has awarded the contract to the Chagourys who are alleged to be his bossom friends and business partners without due process and due consideration to the constitutional and statutory provisions, the National Assembly (that is if we have a functioning and responsible parliament that is not beholden to the Executive Branch) is obligated to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate and possibly call the president to order because doing what he is alleged to have done is a breach of the Constitution which he has sworn to uphold and protect.”

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