Lagos-Calabar highway: How we will recoup construction costs – Umahi

Screenshot 2023 10 03 at 6.41.07 AM

The federal government plans to recoup construction costs for the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project through tolling and selling land along the road corridors, the Minister of Works, Senator Dave Umahi has disclosed. (NOP) reports Senator Umahi made the disclosure at an engagement with representatives of communities within the alignment of the road between Eko Atlantic (Chainage Zero) and Eleko inside (Chainage 47.4klm), on Thursday in Lagos State.

According to Umahi, the aim is to create a scenic route similar to coastal highways in other countries, adding that the return on investment would start immediately the first section was completed and would come from tolls and land sales along the completed section one.

The Minister pointed that the country loses money daily due to cargo transshipment at Apapa Port.

He explained that Apapa Port’s water depth was insufficient for large ships, forcing them to use deeper ports elsewhere for cargo transfer (transshipment), which incurred millions of dollars on daily basis.

He said that the new roads would act as an evacuation corridor for the Lekki Deep Sea Port to other parts of the country.

The minister, who acknowledged potential criticism about the project’s scale and chosen sections, mentioned that section one, a 47.7 kilometers, was ambitious for an interstate road project.

Speaking further during the engagement, Umahi disclosed the immediate commencement of construction work on sections three and four of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project, beginning from Calabar.

He said that section three would start from Calabar and section four from Akwa Ibom.

Umahi said, “Let me announce also that Mr President has directed that section three that is starting from Calabar and section four that is starting from Akwa Ibom should commence immediately; and so, we are in the process of concluding the procurement.

“And for those who have been saying why not start these roads in Calabar; one, the zero point is Lagos and what wrong has Lagos done to these people?

“However, an impartial President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Sen. Bola Tinubu, has directed that section three and four be started from the end of the project. So while this is moving, the other one will be moving.

“I am sure that sections five and six will also start in places like Port Harcourt and Bayelsa.”

Umahi also announced that the president had given approval for the commencement of construction work on the road connecting Sokoto to Badagry.

He said: ”Just the last Federal Executive Committee meeting on Monday, Mr President also approved another project; because this road have two spurs , that we start the design and procurement of that Sokoto to Badagry.

”It’s a 1,000 km, its running through a lot of irrigation, lands and dams where you can have a lot of power generation and its running from Sokoto to Kebbi, Kebbi to Niger, Niger to kwara, Kwara to Oyo, Oyo to Ogun state, and then to Badagry in Lagos State.”

Lagos-Calabar Highway: Okun-Ajah community is safe – FG

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has reassured residents of Okun-Ajah community, Lagos, that their properties would not be demolished for the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway project.

The Minister of Works, Sen. Dave Umahi, dismissed their fears at an engagement with representatives of communities within the alignment of the road between Eko Atlantic (Chainage Zero) and Eleko inside (Chainage 47.4klm, on Thursday in Lagos.

The meeting also discussed the payment of compensations and environmental issues as it affects the projects.

The minister said that the construction around the axis would follow the original gazetted route by the federal government.

Umahi said, “ Ladies and gentlemen, we have our proposal here and we have the old alignment; to the glory of God, to solve MTN, 2Africa, Okun-Ajah community, we are diverting completely from the new alignment, from the old alignment to a new alignment at kilometer 25.’’

The minister emphasised that the decision to avoid demolitions was not due to pressure or conflict from the communities.

According to him, the President’s intervention prioritised minimising the negative impact on residents.

He assured the people of the president’s firm stance, saying the government won’t change the route for section one, but residents could still voice concerns about the project’s impact on their properties within the chosen path.

Umahi stressed that the government was open to addressing concerns outside section one, where adjustments might be possible.

Besides, he invited all the stakeholders to join him to receive President Bola Tinubu, on May 26, as he will be flagging off the 700 kilometers coastal roads.

Earlier at the meeting, Dr Iliasu Gashingbaki, GMD, Meca group, in Okun-Ajah, had called on the government to be sensitive to the global facility, highlighting how a submarine cable belonging to MTN that cut across 33 countries in Africa was tampered within the course of the road construction, thus, shutting internet access to some parts of Africa a few months ago.

About 11 people, whose properties were affected by the construction of the coastal roads, received compensations.