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Coastal highway: Tinubu’s son on Chagoury’s board is a conflict of interest, says Atiku

BY Idris Shehu

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Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 elections, says there is a conflict of interest in the federal government awarding the construction of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway to Hitech Construction Company Ltd.

Abubakar spoke in a statement issued by Paul Ibe, his media aide, on Sunday.

Recently, the federal government commenced the construction of the 700km Lagos-Calabar coastal road, which is expected to run through the shoreline of beach resorts in Lagos while traversing eight other states.

The project has generated controversy about funding the businesses that would be affected by the construction and the timing of its implementation.

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Atiku has been one of the vocal critics of the project.

In his latest criticism of the proposed infrastructure, Atiku said Seyi, the son of President Bola Tinubu, is a director on the board of CDK Integrated Industries, a subsidiary of the Chagoury Group, which is also the parent company of Hitech Construction Company Ltd.

The former vice-president cited a recent report by the Paris-based Africa Intelligence News Agency that Seyi is a formalised business partner with the owners of Hitech Construction Company Ltd.

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A check by TheCable confirmed that Seyi is listed as a director on the website of CDK Integrated Industries.

CDK Integrated Industries manufactures ceramic tiles and sanitary towels and is one of several subsidiary companies under the Chagoury Group, including Hitech Construction Company Ltd.

Abubakar accused Tinubu of prioritising his business interests and those of his family above the country’s wellbeing.

He claimed the coastal highway project was “rushed and without a competitive bidding”.

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“Thanks to quality reporting by Africa Intelligence, our suspicions have been confirmed that Chagoury and Tinubu are indeed business partners and it has been formalized with Seyi on the board of one of Chagoury’s firms,” the statement reads.

“The awarding of the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway was rushed; the environmental impact assessment report was not even completed; the right of way for the 700 km stretch of the highway project was not secured; it was converted from a PPP to a government-funded project within the twinkle of an eye.

“The N500m that was approved by the National Assembly for the project was ignored, while over N1tn was released by Tinubu’s administration without approval from the National Assembly.

“To add insult to injury, this project that is being done in excess of $13bn was awarded without a competitive bidding.

“From all indications, the so-called Badagry-Sokoto highway would be awarded in a similar fashion at an enormous cost to taxpayers purely because Tinubu has put his personal interest ahead of the Nigerian people.”

WHAT IS CHAGOURY GROUP?

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The company was founded by Gilbert and Ronald Chagoury brothers born in Nigeria by Lebanese immigrants, in 1971.

The conglomerate owns construction, real estate, hospitality, glass and flour milling businesses.

Gilbert is also a major funder of the Eko Atlantic project through South Energyx Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of the Chagoury Group.

In 2023, he was listed among Nigeria’s delegation to COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, as a “confidante” of  Tinubu.

 

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