deliberately The Cross Rivers State Government has accused the Federal Government of frustrating its effort in its plan to construct 260-kilometre superhighway, daring that it would go along with the proposed plan by the middle of March this year if the Federal Government does not give the necessary approval for the project.
The state government lamented that the proposed super highway, a major project that could offer a great benefit for the state and the nation entirely has been stalemated due to frigid attitudes of some government agencies that are allegedly in league with some group perceived to be the enemies of the state.
The state Government disclosed that all the necessary issues and framework that border on environmental impact assessment (EIA) have been addressed, yet relevant Federal Government agencies continue scupper the plan of the successful take-off.
Speaking while addressing journalists alongside with three other commissioners recently on the matter, the Hon. Commissioner for Information Mrs. Rosemary Archibong said: “Efforts have been put in place to ensure that these projects meet the approval of the federal government and all other international stakeholders, but somehow we have had these projects stalled over time for different reason and the state government has not rested on its oars.”
She thereafter issued the March ultimatum to the Federal government to approve the plan, stating that raining season is around the corner and such period might be difficult for road construction work due to the nature of climate of the state.
“The Federal Government must grant approval not later than the middle of March. We want to continue with our work. In a short time, the rainy season would set in and the state is a place of torrential downpour and we cannot wait for the rainy season as all the lofty projects of benefit to Cross River and Nigeria would suffer. We are appealing that by the middle of March, we would want to see our approvals granted.”
In his own address, the Hon. Commissioner for Land in the state Professor John Ofem Inyang sounded more aggressive on the matter, accusing some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) of conniving with some political elements in the state to ensure that the planned construction of the lofty super highway does not see the light of the day.
Ofem said “We want to once again tell our opponents to look for something else to criticize this government and not the superhighway. We have sacrificed the 10-kilometre span on either side of the road, limiting to just 70 metres. And I think from today, they have nothing to say against the Superhighway other than to cooperate with us.
“So we are going to be aggressive after the second week of March, if we don’t get our EIA. We have met all the requirements as far as EIA approval is concerned. So as a people we would come together, we would be formidable and we would fight for the cause that we believe in, in as much as we have met all the requirements. If the goalpost is shifted again, we would take a different action because we know our rights,’’ he noted.
However, the threat has been attracting criticisms. For instance, the Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Comrade Nnimmo Bassey has berated the State Government for issuing such ultimatum to the Federal Government, stating that the state Government should come out plainly and explain how the project would be funded and how to deal with the environmental factors that would be heavily involved.