Groups fault FG’s EIA to Cross River on super highway project
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Cross River state have faulted the conditional Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval given the state government for the construction of the super highway project.
By law, they argued there is nothing like conditional approval hence current approval should be withdrawn after expiration of two weeks if the state cannot meet the 23 point condition as specified by the Ministry of Environment and that work should not start.
Briefing newsmen in Calabar at the weekend on the conditional approval given the state on the 275 km super highway, the CSOs under the umbrella of Rainforest Resource and Development Centre (RRDC) rejected the 4th EIA submitted by the state after three failed attempts., saying the new EIA carried animal species that are not in the state and public hearing ought to have been done.
The Executive Director of RRDC, Mr. Odey Oyama said, they still have confidence in the Federal Government, we are not against the superhighway but it should not be at the expense of the people’s livelihood. “The state government should tidy up and “if corrections are not made on the 4th EIA, the FG should blacklist the consultants because the document is fraudulent and misleading as the EIA report currently under consideration has been declared by international and local experts as non-compliant, fraudulent, shoddy and ineffective document”.
He argued that despite public concerns, “it is baffling that the Ministry has gone ahead to issue the proponents of the project conditional approval” whereas the EIA Law CAP E12 does not contain any provisions for granting conditional approvals.
On the conditions given by the Federal Government, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor and Senior Special Assistant Media, Mr. Christian Ita said, “those ones are normal things, if you are doing a project you must compensate the affected people and secondly the road is not near the National Park, so those issues are no issues at all”.
The project is expected to attract many financial benefits to the state through tolls and Ita said “but already they have done the enumeration and they will be paid and the issue of gazetting the already revoked order on each side of the highway is not a problem”.
Ita further noted that the biodiversity areas like the Ekuri forest and the National Park have been avoided in the new design of the road “and those ones are no issues at all again and that is why the road is now longer and it will take extra cost”.