Superhighway: Organised labour issues 21-day ultimatum
The organised labour in Cross River State under the auspices of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), yesterday, issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to release the Environmental Impact (Assessment (EIA) for the Bakassi deep Seaport and the 260km superhighway.
In a solidarity march around major streets of Calabar, the organized labour numbering over ten thousand and led by the state NLC Chairman, Mr. John Ushie and his TUC counterpart, Mr. Clarkson Otu, unanimously asked the Ministry of the Environment and the various relevant agencies of the federal government to stop playing petty politics with the future of the state.
They said it was regrettable that almost two years after the state government had applied for the EIA, nothing was being done to ensure its release or approval for work to commence.
While expressing support for Governor Ben Ayade and his commitment to the signature project, the organized labour warned that if at the expiration of the 21 days ultimatum, the EIA wasnot released, all lawful means will be deployed to drive home their frustration, asking rhetorically: “For how can you judge a man where you have not tried him? The time to act is now.”
The group which also took their rally to the Governor’s Office after delivering their position paper to the Calabar office of the Federal Ministry of Environment, expressed sadness that “Cross River State is being treated unfairly,” wondering “the crime the state had committed for the federal Government to continue to humiliate it.”
The organised labour said even the Lagos-Calabar rail line promised the state was not captured in the 2017 national budget.
“What is the sin of Cross River State? What has Cross River State done to deserve this treatment? Why continue to deny the state the much needed development? Has the federal government not humiliated Cross River State enough? Where is the railway line? Why is the Federal Ministry of the Environment delaying the release of the EIA report?”
Some of the placards carried by the workers read: “Ministry of Environment do the needful”, “Cross River State workers demand immediate approval and release of EIA for the deep seaport and super highway”, “Cross River State workers in support of Development”, “Superhighway knows no political part”.
The group later ended their rally at the Governor’s Office where it handed a letter to the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Tina Banku Agbor who assured them that the letter would be forward to the appropriate quarters for necessary action.
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