FG ready to develop, open up Calabar to Nigerians, Buhari declares
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday assured of Federal Government’s readiness to support the development of Calabar and open it up to the rest of the country.
A statement issued by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, revealed that the President gave the assurance when Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, visited him at the State House, Abuja.
The President said although Calabar lost its status as the first capital city of Southern Nigeria to Lagos, his administration would ensure that it open the City to the rest of Nigeria.
He said his administration was determined to increase the efforts to ensure happiness and wellbeing of the people of Calabar in particular and Cross River State in general.
“We will open up that part of Nigeria to the rest of the country,” he stressed, adding that the Federal Government was already executing a number of projects in the state.
“Three road projects–Calabar-Ugep-Ikom-Ogoja; Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene and Sapele-Ewu–are at various stages of completion,” he said.
The President noted that in order to speed up work on the Calabar-Ugep-Ikom-Ogoja road, plans are underway to incorporate it in the Sukuk Bond to increase the level of funding for the construction work.
He assured that dredging of the Calabar Harbour would be undertaken as soon as the Ministry of Transportation and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) settle some legal issues with the contractors.
President Buhari pledged full support for the Calabar Deep Sea Port project, adding that a number of electricity projects would soon follow after a visit to the state by the Ministers of Power in the next two weeks.
He listed other projects in the state being undertaken by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to include the Industrial Park, which is one of the three projects being undertaken through the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
Others, Buhari noted are, the construction of roads and water projects by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), development of a Skills Acquisition Centre for youths and building of houses, among others.
Responding, Obong of Calabar decried the disregard and neglect of Calabar in spite of its national historical significance, and called for the reversal of the “demotion” through the execution of roads, power, maritime access, security and border projects, as well as address the plight of displaced persons in the Bakassi Islands.