From Judex Okoro, Calabar
HUNDREDS of Cross River natives, yesterday, took to the streets of Calabar metropolis to express support for the 260 kilometres superhighway undertaken by the state government.
The protesters, mostly market women and youths, marched round major streets of Calabar carrying placards with different inscriptions.
Speaking shortly after the protest, President, National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Cross River chapter, Ndiyo Ndiyo, decried an alleged international conspiracy of some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) against the project.
“ What w e w ant e verybody to take note of, including the international community and the Federal Government, is that the youths of Cross River say no to politicisation of the superhighway, the deep seaport and our development.
“Besides, no one should sacrifice the state for his or her selfish interest as no country has ever developed without affecting the environment.
“So, why is Cross River different? Therefore, we call on the federal government to conclude approval proceedings for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for a timely construction.”
Also speaking, leader of Cross River women, Mrs Vivian Imogbo, said: “We want the superhighway because we have no other road in the entire state.
“Lots of lives have been wasted on Calabar-Ikom-Ogoja-Katsin Ala Federal Highway that are no more motorable.”
Recently, about 13 NGOs, in a statement signed by their heads, including Fred Kwame, who is the Africa Regional head of WWF International, Switzerland, John Robinson, executive VP Wildlife Conservation USA, and Hazell Thompson of Birdlife International UK, called on the federal government to halt the proposed 260 kilometres superhighway project by Cross RiverGovernor, Ben Ayade.
The group disagreed with the recently completed EIA by Cross River State, saying the proposed project would jeopardise considerable investments by such multilateral funding agencies, including the EU, UK DFID and the US Fish and Wildlife Service in the state.