By Our Correspondent
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River has reiterated the fact that one of his signature projects, the super highway will not in any way degrade but add great value to the environment of the state and Nigeria.
Speaking while receiving the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita on a courtesy visit in his office, the governor, Senator Ayade asserted that some persons were bringing unnecessary politics to play on a project as important to the socio-economic development of Cross River and the people as the super-high-way and the Bakassi Deep seaport.
Ayade lauded President Mohammadu Buhari for appointing a thorough breed technocrat as Mrs. Oyo-Ita, describing the appointment as one of the finest, and called on the Head of Service of the Federation to use her exalted position to pile pressure on the Ministers of Environment and Transportation to expedite action on the completion and release of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) document of the Super High way.
“President Buhari deserves commendation of every Cross Riverian and is one of the simplest and truest Nigerian President who loves this country and is committed to the wellbeing and oneness of Nigeria. This a President who appointed three prominent persons including the Chief of Naval Staff, Minister of Niger Delta and the Head of Service of the Federation from a state like Cross River which did not vote for him, indicates that he is one of the finest leaders of the world who means well for his people. Again, Cross River State was also the very first state to be visited by President Buhari and he made a firm commitment to return to commission the super high way and the deep seaport”.
Speaking further Governor Ayade disclosed that he will “like to use this opportunity to call on the Head of Service of the Federation to kindly put words on our behalf to Minister of Environment and Minister of Transport to expedite action on the EIA document before the Federal Ministry of Environment. The Minister of Environment has come to see things for herself that the issues of the super high way and the deep sea port were not as the politically motivated stories peddled by some persons.
“As a state we want to create an alternative route to our proposed deep seaport and the deep seaport is located in Bakassi for so many reasons, essentially to heal or provide a balm for the people of Bakassi. The Federal government approval for the steering committees to be inaugurated lies with the office of the Minister of Transport who himself has given a firm commitment that as soon as it comes to his table, he will do justice to it.
“For us to honor the words of Mr. President for him to be back to commission the projects, today as we speak there is no work going on, all the equipment that were mobilized have been down-sized.
“The EIA has been issued but because of the petty concerns that have been raise, the Minister of Environment decided to come to see things for herself and she left very satisfied.
“I want to put it on record that I am a leading light in this country, I’m not just a leading light, and I’m a scientist and innovator with a national award in the field of environment. I did invest, invent and research. I have a signature that is characteristic of me, to protect the environment. There is no person outside our state that is better positioned to protect the environment than myself.”
Ayade added that “with the super-high-way, I have no intention to degrade the environment but to add value. During the last carnival, we had a green carnival, the first of its kind and we have ambitious plan to plant five million trees, we are not going to deforest; and for the super high way itself, the mitigation and environmental management plan had been developed. As I speak we have been asked to stop work for a project that Mr. President wants to commission in this tenure. There is a difference between EIA approval and EIA execution. Dry season and wet season samples have been collected.”
Ayade said that the government and people of Cross River were proud of Mrs. Oyo-Ita because in spite of her nationalistic approach, she was also committed to helping to fight the course of the state, while serving as the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, and for her innovation of bringing about the Waste to Wealth Program, stressing that she is indeed a shining star of Cross River state.
The governor added that, “On the project of Waste to Wealth, our position paper will soon be submitted to you, and I will like to get the Commissioner to get the draft paper before me tomorrow, so by Friday, you will receive our position and our position will be very clear to the fact that the project you intend to bring to the state, we will support it, provide the necessary logistics as it is going to be the first major project in our state”.
Speaking earlier the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita commended Governor Ayade for his bold strides as regards the signature projects and for being the most workers friendly governor in Nigeria.
The Head of Service appealed for a piece of land for the building of a Federal Civil Service Training Center to which the governor said, “It is granted right away”, and directed the SSG to take note and the Commissioner for Lands to work with her team to make sure that before she leaves Calabar she should take a look at what she wants.
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