Coastal Highway: Obi Screams Again, Says FG Adamant On A Misplaced Priority As Poverty And Hunger Spread.

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  • Coastal Highway: Obi Screams Again, Says FG Adamant On A Misplaced Priority As Poverty And Hunger Spread.
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The Labour Party Presidential Candidate in the 2023 general election, Peter Obi has again cried out loud that the Federal Government is going ahead with the inessential projects amid the spread of poverty and Hunger in the land.

Obi had earlier condemned the start of trillions of naira Coastal Highway Project when the internal roads were impassable.

Writing on his X handle on Tuesday, the LP standards bearer said “Contrary to the dictates of reason and the necessity for compassion in the pursuit of public policy, the federal government has kicked off the controversial Lagos-Calabar Coastal highway.

‘The outcry against this project has been overwhelming because it contrasts with the prevailing situation in the country at this time.

“However, reports as of yesterday indicate that demolition of businesses and residences in the designated right of way for the project has commenced from the Lagos end.

“The sight of this insensitive demolition is, for me, heart-wrenching. As we watch this tragic theatre, livelihoods are being wiped away. Lifetime investments are being laid to waste while jobs are evaporating as the bulldozers roar. Habitations of the aged are being overturned by bulldozers of power.

“This hasty flag-off is in utter defiance of widespread outcry by the public especially business and property owners whose investments are directly affected by this project. No one knows the outcry that I’ll herald this project as it progresses towards poor rural landscapes.

‘Thousands of jobs are about to be wiped out while in one case investments above $200 million are about to be lost. Over 100,000 jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector face clear and instant extinction. Over 80 small businesses are threatened with 4000 mostly youth employees imminently out of jobs. At a time when unemployment is ravaging the country, the government is embarking on a job-losing project.

‘The economic losses in view only have to do with the first few kilometers in the Lagos end. But the 700 km of this road will traverse rural areas where those to be affected have neither voice, power, or influence to press their rights.

“Significant sections of the public have questioned the process that preceded the approval of this project. The government has turned deaf ears to voices of reason and caution.

“More importantly, the time has come to interrogate the rationale and timing of this and similar projects being contemplated by this government.

“The nation is today in the worst economic state in national history. Poverty is spreading by the day. Hunger has recently come center stage among the things that trouble the majority of Nigerians. The basic necessities of life are now beyond the reach of most Nigerians.

“This is one moment in national life when any responsible government cannot embark on fancy inessential projects.

“Therefore, We need to question the sense of priority of a government that is in a haste to embark on a mega white elephant project at a time of so many urgent and pressing national needs.

‘Most of the existing highways are in desperate need of maintenance. Even the ones that are passable remain unsafe because of the scourge of insecurity. Travelers on our existing highways are frequently kidnapped and abducted by killer gangs and bandits. Many travelers on our highways are uncertain that they will reach their destinations alive, in safety, or in freedom.

‘Our economy remains comatose as the exchange rate goes yo-yo by the day and our national debt balloons out of imagination.

“Our health institutions are ill-equipped and often unmanned.”

“Worse still, why are we embarking on an expensive fancy new highway project when there are close to 50 abandoned and uncompleted federal highway projects all over the country?

‘For the avoidance of doubt, the clear and urgent necessities of the nation today are urgent nationwide security of life and property, poverty eradication, sustainable and affordable healthcare for all, and affordable and functional education for the majority especially the poor and underprivileged.

‘I would like to be placed on record as one citizen who raised his voice to coopposesand vehemently oppose this government’s penchant to misplace our national priorities at a moment of national emergency of an existential nature.

‘It is not too late to discontinue the Lagos-Calabar highway project. We can ill afford yet another expensive abandoned project. Above all, Nigeria’s urgent development needs are more real in areas that touch the lives of our citizens. We do not need escapades of landscape decoration.

Dr Yunusa Tanko

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