Gov. Ayade urges FG action on 260km Superhighway
Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River has called on the Federal Government to expedite action on the construction of the 260-kilometre super highway in the state.
Ayade made the appeal when the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, visited him in Calabar.
He told Oyo-Ita that his administration has been asked by relevant federal authorities to stop work on the project until the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report was ready.
According to him, there are challenges in delivering his signature projects like the Super Highway and Bakassi Deep Seaport for inauguration by President Muhammadu Buhari within four years.
The governor said it was regrettable that some persons were playing politics by ignoring the technical aspect of the projects which was important to the socio-economic development of the state.
Ayade also urged Oyo-Ita to intercede on behalf of the State Government to get the federal authorities to discharge the challenges and ensure the completion of the projects.
He said that Oyo-Ita could intervene by helping to ensure timely release of approvals necessary for the construction of the superhighway and the Bakassi Deep Seaport.
Besides, the governor specifically appealed to the Head of Service of the Federation “to kindly put in words on our behalf to the Minister of the Environment and Minister of Transport’’.
He said his administration desired that the federal government would expedite action on the EIA document on the projects before the Federal Ministry of Environment.
“The Minister of Environment has come to see things for herself that the issues of the superhighway and the deep seaport were politically exaggerated by some persons,’’ he said.
According to him, the construction of the deep seaport and the super highway will not degrade environment but add value to it.
Ayade, who lauded Buhari for appointing three persons from Cross River into prominent positions in the country, described Oyo-Ita as a thorough bred technocrat.
He said that Buhari deserved the commendation of every indigene of Cross River over the appointments.
He also described Buhari as “one of the simplest and truest Nigerian president who loves this country and committed to the wellbeing and oneness of Nigeria’’.
Ayade noted the appointments from the state to include the Chief of Naval Staff, Minister of Niger Delta and the Head of Service of the Federation.
He said: “Cross River State was also the very first to be visited by President Buhari. He made a firm commitment to return to commission the superhighway and the deep seaport.
“For us to honour the words of Mr President that he will come back to commission the projects, all the bottlenecks militating against the project must be removed.
“Today, as we speak, there is no work going on, all the equipment that were mobilised have been down-sized.
“The EIA has been issued but because of the petty concerns that have been raised, 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 have 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. For the superhighway, I have no intention to degrade the environment but to add value.
“As I speak, we have been asked to stop work for a project that Mr President wants to commission during my tenure.’’
Speaking earlier, Oyo-Ita said she was in the state to seek for collaboration in areas of waste to wealth programme and technical training for the state’s civil service.
She commended Ayade for initiating the projects and for being what she described as the most civil service-friendly governor in Nigeria.
She appealed to the governor for a piece of land for the construction of the Federal Civil Service Training Centre in Calabar.
Oyo-Ita also promised Ayade that she would do everything lawful to support Cross River as an indigene of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ayade granted the request for a piece of land for the building of the Federal Civil Service Training Centre in Calabar.