Govt’s directive threatens C’River’s $3.5b super highway, seaport projects

Ben Ayade

Ben Ayade

The $3.5 billion super highway and the Bakassi deep seaport projects are hitting strong brick walls as investors and financial institutions have deferred interest, according to findings.

The Guardian learnt that the 260-kilometre highway, which runs from Essighi in Bakassi, to Gakem in Bekwara Local Council of Benue State, is being allegedly threatened by government’s “stop work order and serious concerns raised by local and international environmentalists as well as the British government on the hazards the construction of the superhighway will pose on the country’s remaining rain forest and the people aas well as the lack of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).”

Already a German firm has put on hold its 500 million euro investment on the super highway project to ensure standards.

The state government had allegedly without an approved EIA, deployed caterpillars to sites in Ekuri, Okokori and others, leading to protests from affected communities and environmentalists within and outside the country.

However, the state governor, Ben Ayade, has said, “the multi-billion naira superhighway will not degrade the environment but will rather add value to the environment.”

The governor lamented that it was regrettable that some persons had chosen to play politics by ignoring the technical aspect of the project, which, he noted, was important to the socio-economic development of the state and therefore, called for timely federal approval and release of funds for the projects.

The governor spoke while receiving the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita in Calabar.

Ayade, while lauding President Mohammadu Buhari for appointing three of the state’s citizens into prominent positions, described Oyo-Ita as a thorough bred technocrat, adding that, “let me use this opportunity to call on 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 to expedite action on the EIA document 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, “ Ayade added.

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