FG may sanction Cross River’s $4.3 billion highway, port projects

Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade

Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade

Governor backs down on revoking 10km of land
Hopes have been raised about the imminent commencement of the $4.3 billion worth super highway and deep-sea port projects to be undertaken by the Cross River government. While the former costs $3.5 billion, the latter goes for $800 million.

Top government sources are pinning the optimism on the belief that the Federal Government will soon approve the reviewed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the highway project. It has also been learnt that the hope is being further boosted by the state’s decision to back pedal on the revocation of 10 kilometres of land on both sides of the proposed road which would have displaced over 180 communities, pristine forest and its biodiversity flora and fauna.

At the 18th Bassey Andah Memorial Lecture at the weekend in Calabar, the state capital, the Commissioner for Climate Change and Forestry, Dr. Alice Eku, announced that Governor Ben Ayade had listened to the voice of reason and renounced the revocation decision, a development that was welcomed by experts at the event with the theme, “The Nigerian Environment: A Threatened Heritage.”

Their happiness was expressed by the Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Rev. Nnimmo Bassey, who said: “It was interesting to hear the commissioner making an announcement that the 10 kilometres on either side of the road would no longer be taken. But as far as I am concerned, this is a good indication, but we would like to see it published just like the revocation of occupancy was published on 22 January, 2016 in the Nigerian Chronicle.”

Also yesterday, the state said it had secured the central government’s approval to start work on the Bakassi Deep Sea Port.

The governor’s Chief Press Secretary and Senior Special Assistant (Media), Mr. Christian Ita, in a statement, noted: “The actual commencement of construction work on the Bakassi deep seaport received a further boost weekend with the conclusion of arrangements in China by Professor Ben Ayade with some Chinese investors.”

He said prior to the trip, the governor had conferred with President Muhammadu Buhari on the project.

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