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Peter Obi Criticises Timing, prioritisation Of Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway Project

Peter Obi says government should fix bad roads across Nigeria instead of constructing the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway.

The 2023 presidential flag bearer of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi has taken a dig at the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway Project by the federal government, saying the timing was wrong and that the project was not a priority.

Obi, therefore wants an immediate review of the project and attention channelled towards the deplorable internal road projects littered all over the country that would enhance economic growth.

The former Anambra State Governor, who listed some of the abandoned road projects in the geopolitical zones of the country said deliberate attention should be given to those projects that would enhance the living standards of the poor and help internal day-to-day production.

In a statement by his chief spokesman, Dr. Tanko Yunusa, on Monday, Obi said, “I have closely followed the comments and developments arising from the coastal superhighway project. While I’m hesitant to engage in contentious debates about its benefits, which I acknowledge, and the pricing, which I have serious concerns about and believe should be thoroughly reviewed, I feel compelled to raise essential questions about the timing and prioritisation of such ventures.

“At the forefront of my concerns is the pressing issue of numerous uncompleted roads scattered across the country, many of which have become hazardous death traps and security risks.

“It’s disheartening to witness the plight of innocent Nigerians who traverse these dilapidated roads under perilous conditions, vulnerable to kidnappers and other dangers.

“Most of these roads, vital for economic growth, regional connectivity and overall development, have been under construction for several years now and are unlikely to be completed shortly due to poor funding.

Obi listed some of these roads in various zones include: the Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano road; Sokoto – Funtua – Zaria road; Kano – Hadejia road; Kano – Katsina road; Zaria – Funtua – Shema – Tsafe – Gusau – Talata – Mafara – Sokoto road, and the Kano – Kwanar – Danja – Hadejia road.

Others are the Kano – Damaturu – Maiduguri road; the Mubi – Maiduguri road; Nguru – Gashua – Bayamari road; Gombe – Biu – Numan Road Dikwa – Marte – Monguno road; Potiskum – Fika – Bajoga – Gombe – Biu road; Mayo Belwa – Jada – Ganye – Tongue road, and Tumu – Pindiga – Kashere – Yalo – Bashar – Wase – Wamba – Nasarawa road.

Furthermore, he drew the attention of the government to the Abuja – Lokoja – Okene- Auchi – Benin road; the Ilorin – Jebba road; Kabba – Omuaran road;  Suleja – Minna road; Makurdi – Gboko – Yandev – Katsina-Ala road, and the Buruku Bridge across Katsina River

Others are the Lagos – Badagry road; Ibadan – Ife – Ilesha – Osogbo road; Itoikin – Ijebu Ode – Ibadan road; Ibadan – Ilorin – Jebba – Mokwa – Bokani Junction road; Abeokuta – Ibadan Road Ikorodu – Shagamu road, and Ado – Igede – Aramoko – Itawure Road Ajasse Ipo – Offa – Erinle – Osun State Border road.

For the south-east region, he listed the 9th Mile – Otukpo – Makurdi Road – Enugu Port Harcourt road; Onitsha – Awka – Enugu road; Onitsha – Owerri – Umuahia road; Bende – Arochukwu – Ohafia road; Okigwe – Afikpo road; Nsukka – Obollo Afor Ehamafu – Nkalagu road; Oba – Nnewi – Okija road.

 For the south-south, he identified that Benin – Sapele – Warri road; East – West road (Warri – Kaiama – Ahoada – Port Harcourt – Eket – Oron) Yenegwe Road Junction – Kolo – Otuoke road; Sapele – Agbor – Ewu road; Benin – Akure – Ore – Ife road; Ikot Ekpene – Aba – Owerri road; – Jattau – Fugar – Agenebode road; Bodo – Bonny Road with Bridge across Opobo Channel Port Harcourt – Onne road; Agbor – Sakpoba – Ogharefe road, and  Odukpani Junction – Itu – Ikot Ekpene – Umuahia road.

Obi stated that the Federal Ministry of Works 2024 capital budget of N892 billion, additional funding from multilateral loan projects of N94,828,535,243.00, alongside other expected contributions from sources like the China-Exim Bank and the World Bank, would not be enough for serious work on all the critical roads.

He added, “some of which I enumerated above, let alone their completion.

“So why embark on another huge project that will not be completed in the next 20 or 30 years? To do so will only exacerbate the problem of abandoned, uncompleted projects that are not contributing to economic growth and overall development.

“Prioritisation and fiscal discipline should be our critical guiding principles now. Therefore, while acknowledging the potential benefits of coastal superhighway infrastructure, I urge prioritisation of our existing uncompleted projects.

“We must allocate resources towards repairing and completing existing infrastructure, crucial for the well-being and safety of our society, before embarking on new projects, no matter their perceived benefits. Let’s prioritise the urgent needs of our people and ensure that our investments serve the collective good of the nation.

“In any development formula, the primary focus should be on repairing existing infrastructure rather than embarking on colossal projects that may never reach completion within the next 30 years,” he stressed.

Chuks Okocha

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