Umahi’s media aide carpets critics of Lagos-Calabar coastal highway 

Barrister Orji Uchenna Orji, the Special Adviser on Media to the Minister of Works, Senator David Umahi,  Tuesday, took a swipe at those criticising the ongoing Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project embarked upon by the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Though, he did not mention names, the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Candidate in the 2023 elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and his Labour Party counterpart, Mr. Peter Obi, had publicly questioned the cost and reason for embarking on the project.

However, Orji in a statement he issued in Abuja, a copy made available to Blueprint, emphasised that the criticisms were unfounded and the critics lacked understanding of the project’s intricacies. 

He stated that critics either lacked knowledge of the Engineering, Procurement, Construction, and Financing (EPC+F) model or were intentionally undermining the administration’s developmental efforts for political gain.

Orji highlighted that the EPC+F model, which includes financing arranged by contractors, reduces the financial burden on the federal government while ensuring project delivery within set timelines and budgets. 

He stressed that such innovative financing mechanisms were crucial for advancing infrastructure development in Nigeria.

Orji disclosed that the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project, spanning 700 kilometres, is poised to become Africa’s largest superhighway upon completion, featuring ten lanes and a rail track designed for concrete technology. 

Hs noted that the project’s strategic importance lies in its potential to boost national economic growth by facilitating trade, industrialization, and tourism, while enhancing transportation safety.

 To this end, the media aide to the minister commended President Tinubu’s administration for its commitment to addressing the nation’s infrastructure deficit, citing interventions in over 260 dilapidated roads nationwide and provisions in the 2024 appropriation for critical road investments across all geopolitical zones.

He emphasised that the administration’s focus on quality infrastructure development, coupled with effective project supervision and negotiation skills, sets it apart from mere rhetoric-driven politics. 

Orji, however, urged Nigerians to support initiatives aimed at propelling the country towards becoming one of the continent’s leading economies.