BY MARK ITSIBOR, Abuja –
A non-governmental organisation, Climate Transformation and Energy Remediation Society (CLIMATTERS) has accused the Cross River state government of trying to displace over a million people of the state and destroy the only remaining rainforest in Nigeria.
CLIMATTERS says the state government is plotting to carry out what it described as economic sabotage through its planned construction of Cross River Super Highway, which it said will also affect 185 communities.
The organisation called on the various stakeholders including the participating CSOs, media and Federal Ministry of Environment to prevail on the state government to “stop this jumbo project that tend to destroy the only remaining rainforest in Nigeria, causes deforestation, displace communities and millions of innocent people with little or no compensation and exacerbate climate change.”
They made the accusation recently while addressing a media briefing in Abuja.
The Ministry of Environments had given 23 conditions for the provisional Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in June 2017 for full approval for the building of the highway project. The conditions were supposed to be met in two weeks. But after nearly 5 months of the conditional EIA approval, most, if not all of the conditions have not been met. Instead, the provisional approval was received with much rejoicing by officials of the CRSG, according to President/CEO of CLIMATTER, Mr. Smart Chukwuma Amaefula.
Spokesman for the affected communities, Mr Umo Isua-Ikoh, of peace action point lamented that from Bakassi where the super highway project is meant to commence to Kastina, “We have gone through all, the impact has been so much that most of the community people cannot even feed themselves again let alone sending their children to school.”
Umo explained said the situation is creating some emotional trauma among the residents of Mangrove community of the state, particularly Bakassi and Akpaboyo local government areas.
“Their houses were demolished and economic trees such as Oranges, Bananas, Plantain, which are their source of livelihood cut down. And if this continues and estimate of 185 communities will be severely affected,” Isua-Ikoh said, adding that the affected people have not been compensated.
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