The highly anticipated visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Cross River State for the groundbreaking ceremony of the 260km dual carriage way, has been postponed.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the state governor, Professor Ben Ayade, Mr. Christian Ita, said the decision to postpone the ceremony was communicated to the governor in a letter signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Abba Kyari.
According to the statement, the Presidency attributed the shift to a letter written to the President by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Nana Fatima Mede.
In the letter, the permanent secretary claimed the proposed highway, if allowed to go on, would cut through the Cross River National Park.
The letter also claimed that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the proposed road was yet to be carried out.
But 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.
Ita said, “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’’ Ita stated.
He said the EIA report on the road was being handled by PGM (Nig) Ltd. environmental consultants, recommended to the state by the Federal Ministry of Environment, adding that the governor would work closely with the Presidency to clear areas of doubt.
Ita said that a new date for the ceremony would be announced later.