Cross River state governor, Sir Ben Ayade has expressed happiness at the pace of work on the 270 kilometre Superhighway linking the state with Northern Nigeria.
Ayade however, renewed his call for federal government’s support for the project, lamenting that the state was left to shoulder such a gigantic project alone.
The governor enumerated the economic importance of the Superhighway and Bakassi Deep seaport and concluded that the two projects, when completed would lift Nigeria out of economic doldrums.
Governor Ayade who spoke to newsmen while inspecting the progress of work at the Bekwara axis of the Superhighway in Northern Cross River disclosed that earth work has already been completed in a major part of the six-lane highway.
“We have over 270kms stretching from the beginning of Cross River boundary with Benue State up to the Bakassi deep Sea port on a six lane superhighway. The good news is that earth work has already been completed in a major part of the Superhighway in readiness for stonebase and then asphalting. Behind me you can see how much we have done on the superhighway. I am still in a state of shock how a country like Nigeria cannot understand the depth, the value that the superhighway will bring to this country”, the governor said.
The economic importance of the Superhighway, he said, has made the project imperative.
He said when when completed, the Superhighway will serve as a veritable corridor for the evacuation and export of farm produce and other natural resources from the North through the Bakassi Deep seaport which is also under construction.
“I have said it time and time again that today Nigeria is dependent on hydro carbon, the hydro carbon importance is gradually going down, its value and utility is reducing while alternatives are on the Increase. The world is fast moving away from oil. Nigeria has remained monolithically dependent as a slave to oil and because of that there is an intellectual stagnation, reducing us to want in body, spirit and in soul without a deliberate effort to find an alternative.
“In the fullness of time Nigeria is going to pay hard price for this silence and for this laziness. I have only envisioned that the greatest opportunity this country has got is to look into the future and create an opportunity. It is only a future that you picture that you can capture. I capture a prosperity agenda that will be dependent on this superhighway that will serve as an evacuation corridor from the northern part of Nigeria down to Bakassi deep Sea port.
“The North is awash with a lot of mineral resources from tantalite to columbite to tin to iron to coal. They everything over there but there is need for access to the coast land and this is the shortest cut because in few hours you will be leaving the northern part of Nigeria and emptying into Atlantic ocean.
“Once you create an opportunity for northern Nigeria to have an access to an export processing point like a maritime corridor such as the Atlantic ocean, prosperity will set in, Boko Haram will go down, youth unemployment will reduce, banditry will drop.
“So what I have just done by this superhighway is to take Atlantic ocean closer to northern Nigeria to allow for export agriculture, to allow for full extraction of our solid minerals, to allow for the full beneficiation of all the value chain processes because we cannot continue to depend on oil. I am shocked that up till this moment that the federal government has not seen the deep value that this project will bring”.
Governor Ayade however, solicited the assistance of the Federal Government on the two critical projects.
“Let me once more call on the federal government of Nigeria to come to the aide of Cross River. We do not need your money, just give us a sovereign guarantee, just give us any institutional support that we need to get the superhighway and the deep seaport ready. That is all we ask, if for nothing else, at least for the loss of the Bakassi oil wells.”
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