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Atiku To Tinubu: “You Can’t Insult Your Way Out Of All Inquiries, Disclose Full Cost Of The Lagos-Calabar Highway Project

Former Vice President of Nigeria and 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has accused the government of President Bola Tinubu of always attempting to insult its way out of inquiries made into the activities of the government.

Atiku, in a statement on Tuesday, also knocked the Tinubu government, saying it can’t continue to keep Nigerians in the dark over government spending’s.

The former Vice President in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, also dared President Tinubu to disclose the full cost of the Lagos-Calabar highway project and how it got the design, and right of way for the project in 7 months.

The challenge comes as a response to the Tinubu government, which had earlier faulted the comments made by Atiku on the construction of the 700km Lagos-Calabar coastal highway.

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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.

He said Tinubu puts personal business interests before Nigerian infrastructure and there is so much secrecy with the project.

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.”

But Atiku said in a statement on Tuesday that the Tinubu administration could not continue to keep silent on how much of public funds would be spent on the project at a time Nigeria was still facing dire economic challenges.

The former Vice President questioned the Tinubu administration’s decision to award the contract to Gilbert Chagoury’s Hitech without a competitive bidding.

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He had also wondered why the Tinubu administration released N1.06tn for the pilot phase or 6% of the project, which begins at Eko Atlantic and is expected to terminate at the Lekki Deep Sea Port.

The statement read in part, “The Tinubu administration cannot continue to respond to public inquiry with insults. They must come clean on this project because Nigerians deserve to know the truth. I, therefore, present six posers to the administration.

1. How much is the total cost of the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway?
2. Why is the project being funded by the Nigerian government despite being a PPP?

3. Why is the project taking off from Chagoury’s Eko Atlantic?
4. Why is N1.06tn being spent on the pilot phase, which is just 47km?
5. Why did the N1.06tn not get the approval of the National Assembly?
6. Why wasn’t there a competitive bidding for the project?”
7. Finally, how did the Tinubu administration get the design as well as the right of way in just 7 months, since it claims the past administration of Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari never touched the project?

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Atiku asked the Tinubu administration to, in the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act, respond to the questions line by line instead of taking the mundane and jejune route of “insulting their way out of every inquiry”.

Atiku also pointed out that Paul Ibe is his Media Adviser, and not Media Assistant as erroneously stated by Bayo Onanuga.

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