Pressure mounts against Cross River super highway project
Affected Communities and International Communities Take Protest to Presidency
Even as President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Paris agreement on climate change at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, few days ago, pressure has continued to mount on the Federal Government, back home, to stop the destruction of the country’s remaining rain forest in Cross River State, for the construction of a 260km super highway project.
On Thursday in Abuja, over 253, 000 signatures collected from 185 affected forest dependent communities of Cross River State and the international communities were presented to President Buhari to that effect.
They called for the immediate de-revocation of the traditional rights of occupancy of all the 185 communities on the corridor of the proposed super highway and re-routing of the state’s super highway project, otherwise, the country’s remaining rainforest and its biodiversity will be lost, thus rubbishing all the international treaties Nigeria has entered into with the UN and other international organisations on climate change.
A statement made available to newsmen in Calabar, after the presentation of their position paper and the 250, 000 signatures to the President through Minister of Environment, Hajia Amina Mohammed in Abuja, by some protesting youths and women from the affected communities, led by the Board of Trustee member of NGO Coalition for Environment (NGOSE), Dr Odigha Odigha, said the state government is not complying with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) law, as it embarks on the Super Highway and Deep Sea port projects.
The state government had issued in the Weekend Chronicle of January 22, 2016 a public notice that, “all rights of occupancy existing or deemed to exist on all that piece of land or parcel of land lying and situated along the super highway from Esighi, Bakassi Local Government Area to Bekwarra Local Government Area of the Cross River State of Nigeria, covering a distance of 260km approximately and having an offset of 200 metres on either side of the centre line of the road and further 10km after the span of the Super Highway, excluding Government Forest Reserves and public institutions are hereby revoked for overriding public purpose absolutely”.