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Controversies still trailing planned 260km superhighway in Cross Rivers over EIA report

Pressure groups and mainly nature conservation bodies have continued to mount pressure on the

Federal Government to ignore the request for approval by the Cross River State government for the construction of the 260km superhighway until the state complies with environmental standards.

The contesting Nongovernmental organizations (NGO) argue that there had not been a clear Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which is a requirement of the law for such gigantic project that will impact on nature. The pressure groups are of the conviction that if the approval is given without a proper EIA, as required by law, what remains of Nigeria’s 90 percent rainforest found in the state, which is one of the richest in biodiversity in Africa, investment by the National Park, United Nations’ Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) carbon credit fund and many others, will be lost while over 180 communities will be negatively impacted. Hence, the state government “should withdraw the empty threat to the Federal Government and tender apology to Cross Riverians.”

Only penultimate Wednesday, the state government had, through Mrs. Rosemary Archibong, Commissioner for Information, issued a three-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to sanction the construction of its proposed 260km superhighway, saying “the Federal Government must grant approval not later than the middle of March, 2017. We want to continue with our work. In a short time, the rainy season would set in and Cross River State is a place of torrential downpour, and we cannot wait for the rainy season while all the lofty projects of benefit to Cross River and Nigeria suffer.”

According to Cross Rivers State government, the non-approval of EIA reports for both the superhighway and Bakassi deep-sea port projects had led to the withdrawal of some local and foreign investors.

Before now, Business Hilights learnt that conservationists, Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) and impacted communities have rejected the latest EIA submitted by the state and called on the Federal Government not to give approval to the project, until the needful is done, as the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Flora & Fauna International (FFI) said the EIA was faulty.

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