Cross River State Government has dismissed claims that the state’s superhighway which construction is about to commence will dislocate one million people.
Describing the claims as not only absurd, but ridiculously mendacious, Senior Special Assistant to the Cross River State governor on media, Mr. Christian Ita, said it is the biggest lie ever told.
According to Ita, “It is no surprise that elements who masquerade as environmentalists and conservationists are unrelenting in their desperate scheme to ensure that the project stalls.
“In fact, the latest outing by these desperados is one in a series of grand design to scuttle the construction of the superhighway by the administration of Senator Ben Ayade.”
Continuing, the governor’s spokesperson said: “It is instructive to note that since the conception of the superhighway project, some so-called civil society groups in the state, in connivance with their foreign sponsors have done everything possible by weaving all sorts of falsehoods and propaganda to make the noble idea not to fly. This is rather unfortunate.
“You must understand that opposition to the superhighway has become a huge racket that whenever these hustlers are broke, they run back to their foreign collaborators for a few dollar handouts. It has become an oil block of sorts.”
According to Ita, “it is indeed ludicrous to hear that one million people will suffer dislocation arising from the construction out of the state’s population of about four million. So the question is, how did the affected forest communities suddenly acquire such an exponential growth in population barely two years the project was conceived?”
On the claim of deforestation, he said: “As a professor of Environmental Science, the governor is particular about the environment and has shown so much fidelity to issues of afforestation. And for this reason, he has insisted that for every single tree that is felled, ten should be planted. In the last two years, about five million trees have been planted since the inception of this administration.
“Additionally, three out of the three watersheds that will be affected by the construction of the superhighway, ten will be created. So you can see that the claims of these people are not only wild, but also bogus and outrageous.”
Ita also disclosed that government has since concluded enumeration of properties and economic trees that will be affected by the construction with a view to paying compensation to people and communities to be affected by the project, adding that “government is committed to ensuring no one or community is left out in the compensation plan,” even as he reiterated that “the governor has emphasised that at no time will human beings be placed at the lowest rungs of development ladder, no matter how lofty the project. This is a governor who has placed high premium on the people he governs by ensuring that their welfare is one of the cardinal focus of his administration’s agenda.
Indeed, no amount of conspiracy can abort this laudable dream envisioned to take the state out of the woods. “