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July 24, 2024

Lagos- Calabar Coastal Project: Peter Obi inciting Igbos against Tinubu govt – Umahi

The Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, has alleged that Peter Obi, former presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP, is inciting people of the southeast, especially those who are not well informed, against the government.

Umahi claimed that Obi would not fight for the people even after getting them into trouble.

He made the statement on Wednesday while speaking during an event to compensate property owners affected by the Lagos- Calabar coastal road prospect.

The exercise was organized by the Federal Ministry of Work.

The 700-kilometre coastal highway has been enmeshed in controversy following the demolition of Landmark Beach Resort, valued at $200 million, to create a right of way for the project which is estimated to cost the federal government N15 trillion.

After the demolition, a visibly worried Paul Onwuanibe, the Group CEO of Landmark, told BusinessDay that about 70 percent of the beach was destroyed by the government bulldozer, describing the action as “insensitive.”

“What is left of these businesses are the rubbles you can see (in video clips he captured while the demolition was going on). Those are people’s investments and means of livelihood reduced to mere rubbles; so many jobs have been lost and many Nigerian families are in for it,” Onwuanibe said.

On his part, Obi slammed President Bola Tinubu’s administration for going on with the controversial Lagos-Calabar coastal highway project in defiance of public outcry.

The presidential candidate expressed displeasure that the government is embarking on a job-losing project at a time of rampant unemployment.

Obi said it was not too late to discontinue the Lagos-Calabar highway project, adding that urgent necessities are nationwide security, poverty eradication, healthcare, and education, especially for the poor and underprivileged.

He had also described the reported demolition of businesses and residences in the designated right of way for the project as insensitive and heart-wrenching, lamenting that livelihoods were being wiped away, lifetime investments wasted, and jobs disappearing as a result of the demolition.

In a post on his X handle on Tuesday, the former Anambra State governor said: “The outcry against this project has been overwhelming due to the current situation in the country. 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 heart-wrenching. Livelihoods are being wiped away, lifetime investments are being wasted, and jobs are disappearing as bulldozers roar through. The homes of the elderly are being overturned by the power of bulldozers.

“This hasty flag-off defies the widespread outcry by the public, especially business and property owners directly affected by the project. Nobody knows the outcry that will accompany this project as it progresses towards poor rural landscapes.

“Thousands of jobs are about to be lost, with investments above $200 million at risk. Over 100,000 jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector face imminent extinction, along with 80 small businesses and their 4000 mostly youth employees.”

However, Umahi insisted there was no inhumanity meted to Landmark and that the matter should be buried because he was actively involved.

The former Ebonyi State Governor alleged that Obi goes around to condemn people, thereby bringing judgment upon himself.

He said: “It brings to some of the comments made by my brother, his Excellency Mr Peter Obi, I am not supposed to comment about it because some people have already done the work. And I know what Arise Television brought courtesy of Channels Television, they were bringing similar scenarios when His Excellency Peter Obi was the governor. He made a statement saying ”Any infrastructure that stands in the way of the road must go. And there would be no compensation paid.” That’s what he said.

“But look at me, by the human face of the renewed hope agenda administration, we are even paying for people who are illegally staying on the coastal line, and don’t have valid infrastructure and valid documents. That is mercy, that’s mercy… You know some people darken counsel without knowledge. You know there’s the devil in the details.

“When you condemn people, you bring judgment upon yourself. And that is what he (Obi) has done. And I think he’s inciting some of the south east people that are not well informed. He is inciting them. And gets them into trouble. And he doesn’t go to fight for them. Wisdom is a defence. And I want our people to have wisdom because I am involved.

“There’s is no inhumanity meted to Landmark, that matters should be buried because I was there. And so we fought everything possible. Even some people donated property to save his two big infrastructures. That’s appreciation. But some people have taken sides along with him to play politics.

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