Doherty urges NASS to probe Lagos-Calabar Highway project awarded to Hitech

Funso Doherty, a Lagos-based accountant and ADC governorship candidate in the last 2023 general election, has formally requested that the National Assembly investigate the bidding process for the Lagos-Calabar Highway, which was awarded to Hitech Construction Company.

In a letter dated April 11, 2024, the accountant said the process appeared to violate the 2007 Procurement Act, as the Federal Government awarded the contract to Hitech without any bidding process in place.

According to Doherty, none of the reasons canvassed by the Works  Minister, Dave Umahi, for exempting the project from competitive bidding is valid.

  • “In what appears to be an alarming violation of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 (PPA), the executive arm of Government through the Federal Ministry of Works (FMW), led by the Honorable Minister, David Umahi, has recently awarded a massive contract for the construction of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road to Hi-Tech Construction Ltd.
  • “The first phase of this strategically important 700 km project, covering the first 47 km, from its origin at Ahmadu Bello Way by Eko Atlantic, was recently awarded for the sum of N1.06 trillion. The total projected cost is as yet, undisclosed.
  • “By the Minister’s own public admission, competitive bidding was not applied, and the contract was awarded to Hi-Tech on a single-source basis,” Doherty said.

Areas of concern

The ex-gubernatorial candidate also highlighted several issues regarding the contract awarded to Hitech.

In the letter, he outlined the following points for the National Assembly to investigate:

  • Both Hi-Tech Construction and South Energyx Ltd (Promoter and developer of Eko Atlantic, the vast coastal concession granted for shoreline protection and development of luxury real estate, where the Coastal road will originate from) are reported to be substantially owned by Gilbert Chagoury, who is widely reported to enjoy a close relationship with President Bola Tinubu.
  • The concession for Eko Atlantic, which by its coastal spread also requires Federal Government consent, was granted to South Energyx by HE President Bola Tinubu during his tenure as Governor in Lagos State. As a result of the issues now being raised on the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road project, the National Assembly may also want to better understand the Eko Atlantic concession, who its other ultimate beneficial owners are, its extent, limits and the process that was followed in granting that concession.
  • Furthermore, according to the Minister, certain changes have been made to the proposed alignment of the road from the originally gazetted right of way to the one now being implemented by Hi-Tech. An argument has been made that being under common ownership (the Chagoury Group) with the concessionaire of an adjacent property, (Eko Atlantic), Hi-Tech is an interested party and may stand to benefit from some of the alignment changes that have been made.

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