By CrossRiverWatch admin
It is no longer news that the 260km Super Highway, one of Governor Ayade’s signature projects expected to commence from Bakassi to Obudu and empty into the northern part of the country, is meeting with opposition from various quarters, ranging from environmentalists to affected communities to the government at the center.
This has been very intense following complaints that the project would encroach into conserved areas in the state including the Cross River State National Park.
The Federal Ministry of Environment has issued a stop work order pending the conclusion of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before project execution.
The federal government later accused the state government of violating the stop work order and NESREA, an agency under the Federal Ministry of Environment proceeded to court to get an interim injunction to also halt work at the project site.
Following these constraints, the State Government has now submitted the draft of the EIA which is currently undergoing the mandatory approval processes.
The state government expects that after the conclusion of the processes and a stakeholder’s conference, an EIA Certificate will be issued to the state and work will again commence.
As part of the activities to ensure that the process is expedited, the State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade along with his Senior Special Assistant on Communications and Branding, Dr. Dorncklaimz Enamhe, met with the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed on Wednesday, 4th of May to iron out the knotty issues delaying the project.
According to Dr. Dorncklaimz, “The governor took his time to explain all the contentious issues in the project outlay to the Hon. Minister and to dispel the negative insinuations about the project. He stood up for all the time he was with the Minister and explained the entire 260km route and I can tell you something….He wowed the Hon. Minister, she was very impressed and I was equally so overwhelmed with my unstoppable Governor.”
He added that the Minister in her response also assured the governor that the Ministry will work hard to ensure that all the prickly issues are resolved in the interest of development and nature. “She said the Ministry was not against development but was only out to ensure that development is balanced with nature.”
Meanwhile, Youths in Gakem community of Cross River State, one of the community in Bekwara LGA that the super highway is expected to bestride, have threatened to stage a protest and walk to Abuja if need be in order to appeal to the Federal Government to allow the project to commence.
Speaking on behalf of the youths, the Leader, Mr. Peter Olofu and the Clan Head of Gakem, HRH Ushiekakpa Opah Ushie reiterated the fact that the Gakem community is a historic town where the first gun shots that started Nigeria’s civil war were fired and the completion of the super highway project would not only create opportunities for the local people but bring recognition to their ‘forgotten’ community.
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