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Infrastructure: Obi denies as Minister accuses him of inciting South-Easterners against Government over Lagos-Calabar Highway project

Photo Collage of Mr. Peter Obi (l) and H.E. Engr. Dave Umahi, Honourable Minister for Works

*H.E. Engr. Dave Umahi, Minister for Works, has lambasts Peter Obi, ex-Governor of Anambra State, of inciting the people of the South-East region against the Federal Government of Nigeria over the ongoing construction of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway 

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As the iconic road infrastructure project takes off the ground in earnest, H.E. Engr. Dave Umahi, Honourable Minister for Works, has lambasted and accused Mr. Peter Obi, ex-Governor of Anambra State, of inciting the people of the South-East region against the Federal Government over the activation of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway.

ConsumerConnect learnt Umahi stated this Wednesday, May 1, 2024, during a stakeholders’ meeting on the road project.

Photo collage of a section of the ongoing construction of Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway 

The Minister especially accused Obi, a Presidential of the opposition Labour Party in the 2023 General Elections, of hypocrisy, stating that he supported the demolition of structures for road infrastructure and public good while he was in office as Governor of Anambra State.

The Federal Government, however, has explained the coastal highway would run through the Lagos shoreline of beach resorts in the cosmopolitan state, while passing through eight other states of the Federation.

In regard to demolition of structures to pave way for the road project, it is also noted since the announcement of the commencement of the project, the Lagos-Calabar Highway project has been generating controversy with many expressing concerns over the business it would affect in the process.

Aside from former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who had enquired about the cost of the project, while the Presidency accused of ignorance for not knowing the difference between the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Rail and Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway, Obi Tuesday, April 30, also commented on the project via a post on his verified X account.

The former Governor of Anambra State noted the ongoing construction project on the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway as a misplaced priority.

According to him, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is creating more unemployment and destroying investments that paid taxes, as the Landmark Beach Resort that was worth $200 million was adversely affected in the process.

He rather urged the Federal Government to discontinue the project forthwith.

Obi inciting the people against Federal Government, says Umahi

Responding to his criticism, Umahi hit back at Obi for criticising the Federal Government on the project.

The Minister disclosed that affected property owners are already being compensated.

Umahi further stated: “When you condemn people you bring judgment upon yourself, and that is what he (Obi) has done.

“I think he is inciting some of the South-East people that are not well informed.”

The Minister, who is the immediate past Governor of Ebonyi State, said of Obi: “He is inciting and getting them into trouble, and he does not go to fight for them.

“Wisdom is a defence. It gives light to those who practise it. I want our people to have wisdom because I’m involved.”

On Landmark Beach demolition claims

Umahi restated and insisted that the facilities of the Landmark Beach owners in Lagos State were not destroyed during the demolition of structures for the project.

The Minister clarified that only shanties on the right of way were removed.

The government equally accused the owners of Landmark Beach of playing politics over the road infrastructure.

He added there was no unfair treatment meted out to the Landmark Beach owners in the ongoing construction of the project.

Obi denies accusation of incitement against authorities

Meanwhile, Mr. Peter Obi, in turn, has accused Engr. Dave Umahi of spreading falsehood against his person over the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project.

Obi Thursday, May 2 again, took to his X handle though without directly mentioning Minister Umahi by name, denied demolishing existing roads and ongoing businesses while serving as Anambra State Governor.

He insisted that his actions were strategic during his tenure as governor, aimed at prioritising the repair and maintenance of existing infrastructure over projects that risked disruption and destruction.

Obi as well countered the allegation of incitement against President Tinubu’s administration.

According to him, Umahi’s allegation was aimed at tarnishing his image.

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