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Environmental Foundation seeks review of Calabar Super Highway route to preserve endangered rainforests

By News Express on 04/03/2016

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The Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) has called on the Cross River State Government to review the route of the proposed 260-kilometre super highway to preserve the endangered rainforests.

The NGO urged the State Government to reroute the super highway along a less damaging path and away from community forests and the National Park.

A statement issued yesterday by HOMEF quoted the communities along the route as saying that the road would destroy the preserved forests and worsen the impact of climate change.

The statement signed by Rev. Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director of HOMEF, noted that the project must comply with existing environmental laws which include consultations with communities impacted by the proposed projects.

HOMEF said: “We find it unacceptable that a project of this magnitude is pursued without regard to the law and in defiance of the rights of communities.

“Although the President conducted a ceremonial ground breaking exercise on 30th October 2015, that cannot be construed to mean an approval for the project to proceed without meeting the requirements of the law, particularly that of Environmental Impact Assessment.

“Moreover, as required by law, an EIA cannot be claimed to have been conducted if there are no consultations with citizens that would be impacted by the project.”

The statement spoke of fears that the project may present a loophole for illegal logging and poaching and the destruction of habitats in the forests and reserves that are protected by law and preserved by custom. It declared that embarking on the proposed highway project without requisite preliminary surveys, plans and approvals was questionable.

HOMEF advised the government to comply with the laws of the land including by conducting Environmental Impact Assessment, other relevant assessments and consultations as enshrined in ILO Article 169.

“The government,” it said, “should reward and support communities that protect our forests rather than penalise and dispossessing, displacing and impoverishing them. HOMEF also calls on all peace loving Nigerians and citizens of the world to join the call to rethink this project and work to preserve the tranquility that has reigned in this forest before the threat of the bulldozers.”

•Photo shows HOMEF Executive Director, Rev. Nnimmo Bassey.

Source News Express

Posted 04/03/2016 3:12:10 PM

 

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