By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—GOVERNOR Ben Ayade of Cross Rivers State, yesterday, attributed the stalling of the official visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to the state to the misconception that trailed the proposed construction of a 260km super high way in the state.
He dismissed insinuations that political reasons and lack of funds were responsible.
Speaking to State House correspondents after a private meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, the governor stated that a super highway was criss crossing the national park, the greatest habitation for biodiversity in Africa.
He, however, submitted that the controversy was being resolved, saying that a new date would soon be announced for the ground-breaking.
He described President Buhari as a very humble president whose level of integrity and morality would not allow him to engage in a ground-breaking ceremony for a questionable project.
He said: “Basically, that is one of the reasons I came here. There were wrong speculations in the press linking the shift to politics and other considerations that were not true.
“It was basically a technical issue that needed to be resolved and it has been resolved. I am happy to announce that from the discussion with the President this morning, it is obvious that very soon a new date will be communicated. What happened was that there were environmental issues which were dully raised by the Ministry of Environment. All those issues and concerns that were expressed have been addressed.
“There was a misconception that the proposed super-highway was criss crossing the national park, which is the greatest habitation for our biodiversity in Africa. Therefore, from the perspective of the environment concerns, it was totally impossible for the President whom we know for his high level of integrity and morality to come and do the ground-breaking if the project had such kind of issue.
“The national conservation participated with us and now with Ministry of Environment getting involved and ensuring that the route is indeed so designed that it will not have any impact on the communities, no impact on the national forest.
“So, it is against that background that the President asked that we wait for all of those bits and pieces to be tidied up before he can come. It has no link with politics, it has no connectivity with the issues concerning funding.”