• en

House of Reps Launches Probe into Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway Contract Procurement Process

Afenifere has criticised the FG’s reluctance to reconsider 700km Lagos-Calabar coastal highway project, citing environmental and economic concerns.

Nigeria’s House of Representatives has ordered an investigation into the procurement process and the award of contract for the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway.

But a pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has advised the federal government to urgently retreat and review its move in continuing the 700 km Lagos-Calabar Coastal highway.

The decision of the House to launch the probe was sequel to adoption of a motion moved at the plenary by Hon. Dr. Austin Achado, on Thursday.

Moving the motion, the lawmaker said the Ministry of Works, executed an Engineering Procurement Construction and Finance (EPC+F) contract, in favour of Hitech Construction Company Nigeria Limited, for the delivery of the 700km Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road and Rail Project.

Estimated at the rate of N4.329 billion per kilometer, he said project is designed to use reinforced concrete technology for a carriage width of 59.7metres, to include 10 lanes, shoulders and rail with additional designs of service ducts , street lights, drainages and shore protection 

Achado noted that the project with the prospect of providing easy access for movement of goods and services across the nation, has a financing structure, as announced by the Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, which requires the federal government to provide 15 to 30 percent co-financing.

He noted that the private sector counterpart would provide the balance, and to toll the road when completed for a minimum period of 15 years, to ensure full recovery of all debts and equity applied for the delivery of the project 

He, however, said the procurement strategy adopted by the Ministry of Works for the award of the contract violated the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission Act 2005.

He said Section 4 of the Act outlined that all approved infrastructure projects and contracts for Financing, Construction and Maintenance must be advertised for Open Competitive Public Bid, in at least three National dailies.

He added that Section 5 of the Act further clarifies that any direct negotiations with only one contractor could be allowed, only after exhausting the provisions of Section 4.

The House, therefore, called Umahi, Minister of Finance and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to ensure that all guarantees and credit enhancement instruments for the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road Project were sent to the National Assembly for approval.

It also resolved to set up an Ad-Hoc Committee to investigate the procurement process of the contract for the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project and report to the House within four weeks.

But Afenifere, in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Justice Faloye, expressed displeasure as to why government seemed adamant over several calls by some Nigerians to reexamine the socioeconomic and Environmental Impact Assessment effects of the project on the grappling economy. 

“Afenifere is saddened that despite numerous complaints and objections, the federal government has refused to listen and review the 700 km Lagos-Calabar Coastal highway, but instead is rushing headlong into the project. 

“The $13 billion Lagos project is not only environmentally and economically destructive, but irrationally replaces the 1400km $12 billion Lagos-Calabar railway project along East-West Road, adjudged to be the single most important economic empowering infrastructural development project in Southern Nigeria in over a hundred years, commissioned by both the Jonathan (2014) and Buhari (2021) governments.

“The Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project must be re-examined, for not only breaching competitive tendering stipulations, but for also contravening the ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT ACT, as stipulated in EIA Decree No. 86 of 1992, which places the project type in Category 1 and affecting the natural environment, making an ESIA report mandatory before commencement. 

“The 2021 Environmental Assessment Procedures and Charges would have taken six months from May 29th when this administration came to power to secure a genuine approval report, involving series of stakeholder’s meetings, multiple visits and studies of the environment to be impacted by the highway. The project, in essence, will affect the natural fauna, the coastal mangrove swamps that serve as natural barriers against tidal waves.”

Adedayo Akinwale and Ugo Aliogo 

Follow us on: