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Peter Obi: Not Too Late To Discontinue Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway, It’s Misplaced Priority

“It’s not too late to discontinue the Lagos-Calabar highway project. We cannot afford another expensive abandoned project,” said Peter Obi.

Peter Obi

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, has in a strong critique of the federal government’s recent actions, condemned the commencement of the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway project as a misplaced priority in the face of pressing national challenges.

The former Anambra state governor, in a post on his X social media page, formerly Twitter, also said that it is not too late to discontinue the coastal road project in order to focus on other pressing issues in the country.

Expressing deep concern over the insensitivity displayed by the government, Obi highlighted the devastating impact of the project’s initiation on businesses and residences located in the designated right-of-way. He lamented the destruction of livelihoods, the waste of lifetime investments, and the loss of jobs as bulldozers tear down affected areas.

The statement read, “The sight of this insensitive demolition is heart-wrenching. Livelihoods are being wiped away, lifetime investments are being wasted, and jobs are disappearing as bulldozers roar through. The homes of the elderly are being overturned by the power of bulldozers.

“This hasty flag-off defies the widespread outcry by the public, especially business and property owners directly affected by the project. Nobody knows the outcry that will accompany this project as it progresses towards poor rural landscapes.

“Thousands of jobs are about to be lost, with investments above $200 million at risk. Over 100,000 jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector face imminent extinction, along with 80 small businesses and their 4000 mostly youth employees.

At a time of rampant unemployment, the government is embarking on a job-losing project. The economic losses currently observed are primarily limited to the initial kilometres in the Lagos area. However, the 700 km stretch of this road will pass through rural regions where affected individuals lack the voice, power, or influence to assert their rights. Significant sections of the public have questioned the process preceding the project’s approval, yet the government remains deaf to reason and caution.”

Obi then criticised the government’s decision to prioritise a project that would result in job losses amid a period of rampant unemployment and economic hardship. He noted that while the economic value of the road was acknowledged, the prevailing circumstances, including insecurity and poverty, necessitated a reassessment of national priorities.

Obi urged a re-evaluation of the rationale and timing of the Lagos-Calabar highway project, citing the urgent need for nationwide security, poverty eradication, healthcare, and education. He highlighted the neglect of existing highways, exemplified by a recent tragic accident on the East-West Road in Rivers State, as evidence of the government’s misplaced focus on new infrastructure projects.

He said, “The urgent necessities are nationwide security, poverty eradication, healthcare, and education, especially for the poor and underprivileged. It’s not too late to discontinue the Lagos-Calabar highway project. We cannot afford another expensive abandoned project. Nigeria’s urgent development needs are more real and essential. We do not need landscape decoration escapades.”

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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