Gov. Ayade to inaugurate 1000 youths into state Green Police Volunteer scheme

Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade is set to inaugurate a total of 1000 youths engaged as volunteers into the state Green Police scheme established by the present administration to guide the forest reserves. Three candidates were reportedly selected on merit from each of the 196 Wards in the 18 Local Government Areas of the state, basically, from forest bearing communities.

The Special Assistant on Media and Chief Press secretary to the Governor, Mr. Christian Ita, said the inauguration event will take place at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar by 10am on Thursday May 26th, 2016. The list of the successful 1000 applicants was made public by the Special Assistant on Job Placement, EvalAsikong who also disclosed that the Green Police Volunteer scheme is a formation meant to check mate activities of illegal loggers. In addition to check mating illegal activities in the forests, some of them will be saddled with the responsibility of raising of nurseries, planting and nurturing of such seedlings and embark on aggressive urban afforestation across the entire state.

Cross River State is known to harbours over 50% of the remaining Tropical Rain Forest in Nigeria and is one of the world's 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world. The State plays very unique role in stabilizing the global ecosystem, which is what the Green Police had been created to sustain. About 1000 successful candidates emerged out of the 3500 candidates that applied for the Green Police Recruitment. A reliable source informed our reporter that each of the youth under the scheme will be paid N20, 000 each but they are not to be enrolled into the state civil service. Accordingly, the statement invites members of the National Assembly, Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of Councils, Members of the State House ofAssembly, members of the state Executive Council, State Executive members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), chairman and members of traditional rulers council and other stakeholders to the event.

Women group, youths on street protest in Calabar, seek approval for EIA on superhighway

Women and Youths protest for 260km SuperhighwayAn unusual traffic logjam was experienced by motorists for hours along some major streets in Calabar, Cross River State Capital on Wednesday as a group of women and some youths embarked on a street protest to express their concern over reports that Environmental Impact Assessment EIA report for the construction of a 260 km superhighway is not accepted in the Federal Ministry of Environment.

They carried banners and placards with inscriptions such as; “Cross Riverians say no to conspiracy against superhighway”, “Superhighway our dream for a better tomorrow”, “our economic development depends on the superhighway”, “You can’t hate us and love our forest”.

The protesters denounced what they described as conspiracy by some International Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and their local collaborators against the project. They therefore, urged the Federal Government to disregard the antics of the NGOs and ensure timely approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for commencement of construction work on the superhighway.

President National Youth Council of Nigeria, Cross River State Council, Comrade Ndiyo Ndiyo, who addressed the protesters described as unfair treatment of the state’s EIA report, warned: “We want everybody including the International community and the Federal Ministry of Environment to know that the youths of Cross River State say no one should play politics with our developmental efforts! Nobody should sacrifice Cross River State for selfish gains!” “When they developed Abuja was there no forest? When they developed China, didn’t they tamper with their forest? What about other developed countries? Did they develop them without touching their forest? So why is Cross River State’s case different? We hereby pass vote of confidence on the project.”

Ndiyo called on the Federal Government to expedite action on the approval of the EIA for the project, even as he demanded that the state be paid compensation for preserving its forest over the years.

On her part, Leader of the women group, Mrs. Vivian Imogbo said the need for the superhighway could not be overemphasized given the deplorable state of the only existing highway, which is a federal road. “We want superhighway because the only federal highway that we have is in very bad state. Our women who travel on that road to different markets die on that road every day. Recently some of our Reverend Sisters died on that road. “Governor Ben Ayade knows what is good for us, that is why he initiated the superhighway project and our deep seaport project to ameliorate the untold hardship we face daily on the bad federal road in the state.”

Thirteen International Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), had petitioned the federal government, expressing concerns about the process, and content of the documents of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the project. Based in the American continent, Europe, and Africa, the NGOs in their petition to the federal government, listed twenty seven grounds on which they are faulting the EIA document for the proposed super highway presented by the state government to the federal ministry of environment. The petition addressed to the Minister of Environment, Hajia Amina Mohammed, dated May 25, 2016, entitled “Comments On The EIA Of The Proposed Calabar-Ikom-Katsina Ala Superhighway Project: Draft Report Submitted To The Federal Ministry Of Environment,” was signed by Fred Kwame, Africa Regional Head, WWF International, Switzerland; John Robinson, Executive Vice President, Wildlife Conservation Society, USA (United States of America); Hazell Thompson, Birdlife International, UK; Jonathan Bailie, Zoological Society of London, UK; Richard Bergl, North Carolina Zoo, USA; Russ Mittermeier, Conservation International, USA; Mark Rose, Fauna and Flora International, UK; Adeniyi Karunwi, Executive Director, Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Lagos; Tunde Morakinyo, Founder and Director, Iroko Foundation, UK; John Oates, Hunter College, City University of NY, USA; Ako Amadi, Executive Director, Community Conservation and Development Initiative (CCDI), Nigeria; and Zoe Parr, Consultant, Botswana.” In the petition made available to journalists in Calabar, the NGOs expressed their concerns over the EIA document, and demanded that a fresh EIA be done while communities are paid compensation by the state government for grabbing and clearing their lands in a manner they described as illegal.

CFTZ solicits more security surveillance on Creeks of Calabar

NNS Victory Commandant with Management team of CFTZIn a proactive step, the management of the Calabar Free Trade Zone (CFTZ) has visited the Nigerian Navy and Army authorities in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, to solicit continuous support and more surveillance along the creeks and shorelines of Calabar water ways to protect investors’ interest in the CFTZ.

Head of the Zone, Godwin Okimba Ekpe who led the management team on the visits to the two military formations, said with more Oil tank farms now operating in the zone, in addition to other huge investments, it is imperative that the management collaborate with the armed forces to prevent any unfortunate security incident.

The CFTZ management team first visited the Infantry Brigade Army Command in Calabar where they met the commandant, Brig. General Tomitokpe Ademola who received the team and later led them on a facility tour, giving assurance of the commands routine surveillance and presence in the water ways and creeks,

At the NNS Victory command, the commander of Nigerian Navy Ship, Commodore Macaus Bobai also assured of the continuous support of his men and the command to protect lives and property along the shorelines of the state.

He noted that the Navy is strategically position along the shorelines and the waterways of Calabar and beyond, they were looking forward to having flat bottom boats in their fleets to be able to enter some challenging areas along the creeks.

Speaking earlier, the Head of Calabar Free Trade Zone Godwin Okimba Ekpe noted that the zone has enjoyed good security records from inception and with the decision to go beyond manufacturing which was the primary purpose of the zone, Petroleum tank farm operators business was added to the zone thus increasing the risk level and need for increased security surveillance.

Other management team members of the CFTZ on the visit were Austin Onyekwelu, Manager Admin, Mrs. Obiola Oby Manager Investment, Alhaji, Mua’zu Shahabi Senior Manager Operations and Ms. Ugo Victoria Principal Accountant, Finance.

Kidnapped expatriates regain freedom in Calabar

IGP Idris The Police Command in Cross River State has confirm the rescue of five expatriates and two Nigerians who were kidnapped Wednesday morning by suspected militants along Idundu Bridge in the outskirt of Calabar, the state capital.

The State Commissioner of police, Jimoh Ozi-Obeh who gave the information through a telephone interview only added that all the seven victims regained their freedom without any ransom payment and that they were receiving medical attention first.

He refused to disclosed where the expatriates were released however said the success recorded in the rescue exercise was the combine effort of the c security operatives in the State with the support of the Cross River State Government.

He said investigations are still ongoing over the incident. It would be recalled that Suspected Militants last Wednesday Kidnapped five expatriates including three Australians, ‎one New Zealandia and a South African on their way to a Cement Manufacturing plant of UniCem brand, a member of La-Farge Africa Plc located at Mfamosing, in Akamkpa Local Government Area about 20km from Calabar, the Cross River State Capital.

The state security adviser Jude Ngaji when contacted said they were released in Akpabuyo local government area and taken into custody by security operatives. Though he did not give details of how they regained their freedom but said no ransome was paid.

He remarked that “the state governor has always said it will never negotiate with criminals. We would use all the arsenal and laws available to us to go after criminals”. “I can tell you that they have regained their freedom. They are happy and strong and in high spirits. The Australian ambassador happy and commended the state for the manner it handled the matter. “This development is totally strange to Cross Riverians and never will it happen again.

Cross River State still remains the safest state for anybody and everybody to be. The governor, Prof Ben Ayade, is happy with the way security agencies rose to the occasion to ensure their safe release. We also thank Cross Riverians for the cooperation,” he said.

Cross River Works ministry holds bidding for road dualization contract

Gov. AyadeThe pre-qualification bid exercise for companies interested in handling the proposed road dualization project for Yahe-Okpoma-Okuku-Ogoja –Bekwarra-Obudu-Obanliku roads has been held in the Ministry of Works, Cross River State. Twenty seven construction companies submitted their qualification documents and also participated.

The Commissioner for Works, Engr. Dane Osim-Asu who was represented during the exercise by the Permanent secretary, Ministry of Works, Bldr. Charles Eyong maintained that, the state Government is working hard to provide standard roads across the state and has not relent it’s effort in doing good.

He said the pre-qualification bid exercise was earlier advertised in accordance with Due Process law and that with the Governor of Cross River State, Senator Prof. Ben Ayade giving his approval for the construction of the road projects, there was need to call on companies who indicated interest for a pre-qualification exercise which will determine the next stage.

The content of all documents submitted by various construction companies were confirmed to be in both hard and soft copies before endorsement by the Permanent secretary, Ministry of Works Bldr. Charles Eyong who represented the Honourable Commissioner and Mrs. Esther Ushie who represented the Director General, Due Process and Price Intelligence Bureau.

The Commissioner urged the Construction Companies to take the pre-qualification exercise serious, as it’s a positive step in improving the economic fortune of the State and making life better for the entire Cross Riverians. Adding that, within a short while, the result of the exercise will be ready.

The Director General, Due Process and Price Intelligence Bureau, Barr. Alphonsus Ogar Eba, represented by Mrs. Esther Ushie commended the Commissioner for Works Engr. Dane Osim-Asu for ensuring that the pre-qualification exercise was done in accordance with due process regulations.

The Procurement Officer, Ministry of Works, Mr. Paul Ushie said the need to do the right thing in line with Due Process in order to promote Government objectives cannot be compromised.

He noted that the pre-qualification exercise was successful, thus transparent, fair and with integrity. Reacting to the general conduct of the pre-qualification exercise, the representative from A.G. Vision construction Nig. Ltd Mr. Ochu Patrick commended the Ministry of Works for the peaceful conduct of the exercise which he described as transparent, free and fair.

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