The proposed visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Cross River State for the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a 260km superhighway has been cancelled.A statement by Christian Ita, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River, on Thursday, September 17, 2015 confirmed the cancellation.
It stated that the decision to postpone the ceremony was communicated to the governor in a letter signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari. “The presidency attributed the shift to a letter written to the president by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Nana Fatima Mede.
“She claimed that the proposed highway, if allowed to go on, would cut through the Cross River National Park. “The letter claimed that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the proposed road was yet to be carried out,” the statement said. But, Mr. Ita stated that the proposed road would not traverse the Cross River National Park, as the superhighway would be several kilometres away from the national park.
“Based on the input of the Cross River National Park, the road has since been re-routed with the alignment now several kilometers away from the park. “As a governor who is passionate about the preservation of the state’s biodiversity with his establishment of the Green Police, he would not embark on a project that would undermine the environment,” Mr. Ita stated. He said the EIA report on the road was being handled by environmental consultants, PGM (Nig) Limited recommended to the state by the Federal Ministry of Environment. Mr. Ita said the governor would work closely with the presidency to clear areas of doubt, adding that a new date for the ceremony would be announced later.