Home » Exclusive: Nigerian president initiates highway project by controversial billionaire tied to Sani Abacha – What you need to know!

Exclusive: Nigerian president initiates highway project by controversial billionaire tied to Sani Abacha – What you need to know!

by Omokolade Ajayi
Gilbert Chagoury

Key Points:

  • Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has launched the 700-kilometer Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway to revolutionize travel and commerce along the coast.
  • The highway will connect nine states, creating thousands of jobs and boosting local economies by linking key highway corridors.
  • The Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway will enhance Nigeria’s maritime industry, leveraging new economic opportunities from the extended continental shelf.

Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has officially flagged off the construction of the highly anticipated 700-kilometer Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway. This project, entrusted to the Hitech Construction Company, a construction company owned by Nigerian-Lebanese billionaire Gilbert Chagoury, is poised to revolutionize travel and commerce across the nation’s coastal regions.

Speaking at the Ahmadu Bello Way in Victoria Island, the starting point of the project, President Tinubu emphasized the transformative potential of this multi-million-dollar venture. The highway will traverse nine states along Nigeria’s coastline, creating a critical link between the A1, A2, A3, and A4 highway corridors that stretch from north to south across the western, central, and eastern regions of the country.

“This project is more than a mere road. It is a symbol of hope, unity, and prosperity. It will connect communities, bring prosperity to people, and create opportunities for millions of our people,” President Tinubu declared. He highlighted the highway’s potential to provide direct employment to thousands and generate indirect jobs for tens of thousands, significantly boosting local economies.

A landmark in Nigeria’s infrastructure development

The Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway is not just a transportation project but a monumental step towards fostering economic integration and development. By improving access to production and marketing centers for an estimated 30 million people, the highway is expected to fast-track economic development and facilitate the free movement of goods and people.

In addition to this project, President Tinubu also virtually inaugurated the reconstruction and rehabilitation of 330 roads and bridges across Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones, demonstrating his administration’s commitment to comprehensive infrastructure development. Applauding the efforts of Hitech Construction Company and its leadership, President Tinubu expressed confidence in the company’s capacity to deliver world-class infrastructure.

The highway project will also play a pivotal role in complementing the expansion of Nigeria’s maritime industry. The United Nations’ recent decision to extend Nigeria’s continental shelf by an additional 16,300 square kilometers has opened new economic opportunities, particularly in maritime trade. President Tinubu emphasized the importance of leveraging these opportunities to establish more export processing zones along the coastal states.

The Chagoury Legacy

Hitech Construction Company, a division of the Chagoury Group, has been a significant player in Nigeria’s civil engineering sector since its founding in 1988 by Gilbert Chagoury and his brother Ronald. The company has built a reputation for delivering sustainable solutions to combat coastal erosion and safeguard critical shoreline sections from the encroaching Atlantic Ocean.

Gilbert Chagoury, now 78, is a towering figure in Nigeria’s economic landscape. His entrepreneurial journey, marked by both innovation and controversy, has seen him build a multibillion-dollar empire. Despite his controversial association with the late Nigerian military head of state, Sani Abacha, and subsequent financial restitution to the Nigerian government, Chagoury has remained a pivotal figure in the nation’s development.

Looking ahead

As Nigeria embarks on this journey, the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway stands as a testament to the country’s vision for a prosperous and interconnected future. “We have a road that will outlive all of us here. That is how to build the future,” President Tinubu stated, urging Nigerians to embrace the bold and courageous endeavors necessary for national excellence.

With the construction of this highway, Nigeria is poised to unlock vast economic potential, foster unity, and build a legacy of prosperity for future generations. The project is set to not only improve transportation but also serve as a catalyst for development, tourism, and trade.

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