Cross River State government and an environmentalist in the state have disagreed over issues surrounding the N700 billion superhighway and deep seaport projects.
Chief Executive Officer, Rain Forest Research and Development Centre (RRDC), Mr. Odey Oyama, was quoted by the state government in a press statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor and Senior Special Assistant Media, Mr. Christian Ita, of throwing his weight behind the re-election of Governor Ben Ayade and at the same time, “the renowned environmentalist and social critic also reappraised his earlier contrary stance on the construction of the superhighway and the deep seaport, insisting now that they are necessary for the economy of the state.”
Ita said Oyama, who made his position known after an on-the-spot visit to the Ayade Industrial Park and maintained that his (Oyama) earlier position against the projects, especially the superhighway, was from a misinformed narrative, saying, “the superhighway and deep seaport are all interwoven because if you remove them, these things may not work fine.
If we are going to do export, it will not work if we exclude these two projects. If you want to hit the market in the North without a good road network, these projects will not work, so, we need to work them out.”
According to Ita, the environmentalist, who hitherto had a contrary position with regards to the superhighway, said that “we need to connect with the people to understand what is going on here because when they don’t understand, they pass on wrong information.”
However, Oyama, in a counter-statement yesterday, said that the government had performed well in his first term more than past two governors but his position against the government on superhighway stands.
He said: “The position of the affected local communities, the International community and Civil Society Organisations, including RRDC, at that time was that the project was not compliant with the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as related International Treaties and Conventions which Nigeria is a signatory.
“As an environmentalist, therefore, the position of RRDC on the superhighway has not deviated from the principal issues of compliance with the law.”