Contrary to media perspective, the Cross River National Park and the spearhead of Rainforest Development Centre [RDC] in Cross River have debunked reports that they were ever against the construction of the current Cross River Government’s flagship superhighway project.
The construction of the proposed 260-kilometre super highway is one of the two signature projects promised by Cross River Governor Ben Ayade at inception with the aim of providing an evacuation corridor for the state’s economic potentials since, as argued by Ayade neither the federal road nor the German bridge in Ikom made this possible.
To show its preparedness on the project, the state government embarked on bush clearing on the passage of the road, which has since overgrown with grass.
But this aspiration by the current administration had constantly been setback by petitions and its inability to meet federal government’s requirement, which includes conducting a proper environmental impact assessment [EIA], an aspect the state views as a conspiracy by certain parties aimed at truncating the progress of the project.
Both the Cross River national park speaking to our reporter through its deputy conservator of parks [DCP] in Cross River, DCP Caroline Olory and RDC’s executive director and frontline environmental activist, Odey Oyama said they were only requesting the needful to be done and were not out rightly against the project.
Olory held that the position of the national park had always been for the state government nursing the project to carry out a proper EIA of the project before commencement.
According to her “The superhighway is a development project, if the state government can do a proper EIA we have no problem”.
On his part, environmental activist Odey Oyama said he had never been against the project being that Cross River lacked good roads, but however maintained that the state government must follow section 46 of the Nigerian land use act and do the needful.
“I’m not against the superhighway because we don’t have good roads in the state,” the environmental activist said.
In addition, he added, the state government should also embark on exhaustive consultation of all the stakeholders affected by the construction of the road and giving them the opportunity to make useful contributions.
Oyama further posited that government must also properly file compensation to communities and persons affected by the passage of the superhighway.
[By OBAJI ABUNG-AKPET, Calabar]