Lagos-Calabar Coastal highway to be ready in 8 years, N3,000 per toll gate – Umahi

However, Atiku yesterday maintained that the project is a fraud, chiding Umahi for claiming that the coastal highway will tentatively cost N15.6 trillion.

Lagos-Calabar Coastal highway to be ready in 8 years, N3,000 per toll gate - Umahi
Dave Umahi
Lagos-calabar coastal road to be ready in 8 years, n3,000 per toll gate - umahi
Dave umahi

The Federal Government has said it will recoup its investment on the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project through 15 years of tolling, Works Minister Dave Umahi said yesterday.

He also said the N4b per kilometer road will be ready in eight years, adding that motorists will pay N3,000 per toll gate.

Umahi also assured property owners along the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway route that a fair and transparent compensation will be paid to those affected.

Umahi said this at a press briefing/stakeholders meeting on Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway projects, at Eko Hotel, on Thursday in Lagos.

The minister said that the compensation process, which would be based on government-approved rates, would ensure payment of a standard, non-negotiable amount.


“By next week Wednesday, we will know how much compensation will be paid, and it will be paid according to the rate gazetted by the Federal Government.

“ From Wednesday, I will appoint a committee that is going to review the remuneration to be sure that what is on paper is what is on ground.

“ So, we are going to call people as much as possible, starting from Monday, to come and know if this is your property, this is how much you are getting and so on and so forth,’’ he said.


Umahi said that a one-on-one engagement process would take place over 30 days to verify property ownership and claims.


“ So, we will try to fast track it because the one-to- one engagement is going to be for 30 days, and I said that you will all be paid within the 30 days; the moment you are verified and you sign, you are going to get your money in 30 days,” he said.


The minister pledged his commitment to upholding the Nigerian constitution, which guarantees fair compensation.


He said, “ I swore to uphold the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that constitution has not changed; so whatever the constitution says in terms of rate is what we have to pay.’’

BRANDPOWER reports that the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway is proposed to traverse about nine states along the coastal shoreline of the country.


The 750km Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway, handled by Hitech Construction Africa Ltd., will start from Lagos and terminate in Cross River, with a spur to the north central part of Nigeria.

Umahi also said the N4b per kilometer road will be ready in eight years, adding that motorists will pay N3,000 per toll gate.

He said contrary to the misleading N8 billion per kilometer given by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the standard gauge design of the road adopted by the Federal government would cost N4.59b per kilometer


The Minister said the former design by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was not comprehensive, stressing that  it was replaced by the standard gauge design that has multiple features of bridges, toll plazas, and economic settlements among others.

However, Atiku yesterday maintained that the project is a fraud, chiding Umahi for claiming that the coastal highway will tentatively cost N15.6 trillion.


Atiku also criticised Umahi for altering the initial plan of the project, alleging that it was also awarded to Gilbert Chagoury’s Hitech without any competitive bidding.

Umahi, who spoke on a live television programme in Lagos,  debunked allegations that the project was awarded to the company out of favouritism.


He said the award followed the due process outlined in the Procurement Act, with considerations given to capacity, competence, and track record as mandated by law.

He alluded to Hitech’s successful projects like Eko Atlantic, which involved controlling the ocean, and previous concrete pavement road projects, saying that the company has a track record.

On the scope of the project, Umahi said: “We’re looking at 700 kilometers with two spurs, one from the Badagary section going to Sokoto and the other African Trans Sahara trade route from   Enugu to Abakaliki, Ogoja, Calabar going to Cameroun.


“Phase 1 of 700 kilometers that comes in multiple sections. Section 1 is starting from Zero Point and up from Ahmadu Below Way to Lekki Deep Seaport enough is 47.47 kilometers”


“We have Section 2 that we have already procured. It has been approved by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) waiting to be approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), and that is about 55 kilometers, running from Lekki Deep Seaport going into the border between Ogun and Ondo States.

“We are finalizing the design of Section 3 which is from the end of the project in Calabar, rolling towards Akwa Ibom that is about 65 kilometers.

“So, multiple sections will also come up as we go along but each of these sections, like Section 1 is 36-month duration but it’s going to run independent of Section 2.

“Section 2 is going to run independent of Section 3. That is how the road is going to be? And how long it’s to take, by God’s grace, within eight years of this administration. But the first phase we’re talking about should finish before 2027. 36 months is projected but Hightech is going to complete it before then.”


The minister also clarified that the project was not  envisaged by the Federal government under the Public Private Partnership (PPP), but under the Engineering Procurement Construction Plus Finance  (EPCF) where the Federal government is required to pay a counterpart fund for the execution of the project.


He said the coastal highway was not the first under such arrangement citing the Abuja-Makurdi highway and the Markurdi to Nineth mile, Enugu road  handled by China Harbour where the Federal government paid 15 per cent counterpart fund for the completion of the projects.

He said the project is an EPC plus F project by Hitech, which was initiated by the President when he was the Lagos State governor, is funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

According to him, Tinubu at that time procured the Right of Way and gazetted it.

He said: “I also have to pay counterpart funding but I took my counterpart fund to build some sections of the road. So part of what we are committing on Sections 1,2 and 3 funded by the Federal government is still going to fall under the percentage counterpart funding of the Federal government when negotiation is completed.”

Umahi said the only design by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), which the former Vice President relied on, was erroneous as the adopted design for execution by Hitech is standard gauge.

He said the figures presented by Atiku were erroneous due to a lack of knowledge of the new design while he ran with the NDDC design for the entire 700km.

He said with the new design, including the Right of Way, modifications were made to meet the standard gauge superhighway carriage way specifications.

He said the initial design was four lanes of carriageways while the train track was not provided for.

He said: “The one we are constructing has 10 lanes, about 23 shoulders, a total of 59 meters of concrete pavement and 23 meters of flexible pavement among others.

“When you run the figures, you’ll find out that under the former VP’s calculation, it is given that  19.%  per kilometer. Now divide it by the 22-kilometer stretch they are doing which is about 2.225 times a standard superhighwacarriagewayay which is 11.54

“Whereas what we are doing, if you divide it you will get 5.167. So, when you now diivide, using 1.067, you will get about N4b per kilometer. If you go back to what he (Atiku) has quoted, you will get about N8.something.

“So, using concrete which should be more expensive because of the kind of terrain we have and using flexible pavement which shouldn’t stand the coastal road, you’ll find out that our cost is N4b per kilometer, instead of the N8b he quoted.

“This is an upgraded version of the road with much improvement because what they had before was just a 60-millimeter binder cost and the 40-millimeter wearing costs which is far below the standard of the project of this nature.

“Even at that, when we compare the cost of a similar project, Boddo-Bonny five years ago was about 5.123b per kilometer done on flexible pavement.

“This one has multiple flyovers, multiple bridges among others, so it is the most economical”.

The minister also disclosed that the project would come at no job loss to the communities along the corridor.

He said the fears expressed by an investor, Landmark, that its tourist property would be demolished were not justified because the property was not affected.

Citing the law, Umahi said the 250 meters to the shoreline belong to the government and that 50 meters have been provided which allowed the property and others to avoid demolition.

On tolling the highway, Umahi confirmed that there will be toll gates,.

He said: “In fact, Section 1, which is the most economically viable, I estimate that about 50,000 vehicles per day on the average of N3,000 and we have two points within the 47 kilometers which will net off the cost of the project within 15 years.”

He also confirmed that the project was appropriated in the 2024 budget, even though a figure of N1.067 trillion would not be seen under it, to confirm the buy-in of the National Assembly having followed all due process.

Umahi however, added that the funding of the Federal Government’s part of the project would be sourced from the Infrastructure Fund.

However, Atiku insisted that the Federal Government has more explanations to make on the project.

He said: “Umahi had announced that the project would be fully funded by Hitech, and based on this, there was no competitive bidding. He (Umahi) then turned around to say that Hitech could only raise just 6% of the money for the pilot phase. This smacks of deceit.

“The total budget of all 36 states of the federation for 2024 stands at about N14 trillion. If you add that of the FCT, the entire budget of all sub-nationals is N15.91 trillion. This is scandalous. Worse still, they have already awarded the contract but are still not sure of the level of the counterpart funding component of the federal government!

“Umahi had said in September 2023 that Gilbert Chagoury’s Hitech had the money to construct the highway and that it would be PPP. Hitech was to build, operate, and transfer it back to the Nigerian government after years of tolling.

“It was reported by every media organization, including those owned by Tinubu. It was on the basis of this proposal that Hitech was picked. Why did Umahi then turn around to claim that it was not to be a PPP but that the government would pay 15%-30%?”

He added: “Although the National Assembly approved N500m for the project this year, the Tinubu administration has released N1.06tn. That is more than 200 times what is in the Appropriation Act. This is what happens when the National Assembly fails in its duties.

“If N15.6 trillion is for the road component alone, then the total cost could be far higher when the railway is included. We want to know the cost of the railway.”


NAN/The Nation