FG begins payment of compensation to Calabar/Itu highway communities
By Joseph Kingston, Calabar
Communities and people living along the Calabar-Itu highway route may have heaved a sigh of relief as the federal government has commenced payment of compensation to them.
Our reporter learnt that with this payment, work is expected to commence fully on the highway which had been described by road users as a ‘death trap.’
Already six communities, which include Odunyama, Akai Effiwatt, Obot Ekpo, Mbat Odukpani, Ikot Okon Akiba and part of Okoyoyong Usang Abasi, report say, have already received compensation for structures and economic tree.
Boundary communities in Akwa Ibom, it was further learnt, has also been compensated.
A spokesman for recipients in the Cross River angle, Mr Ekpenyong Akiba Ekpenyong, confirmed that the consultants for the project, Chika Egwatu and partners on behalf of the contractor, Julius Berger Nigeria limited and Federal Ministry of works, have concluded the first phase of the payment conducted in the Calabar Municipality council hall.
He disclosed that the ground breaking and demolition of the affected structures would commence within a forthnight.
He said, “I have been mandated by these six benefiting communities to convey their appreciation to the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari for keeping to the promise of proving a face – lift to this strategic road.
“Already we are aware that the project had since commenced on the Ibiono Local Government Area axis of Akwa Ibom with a spur to link Itam and Ididep while the Cross River axis was put on hold pending the release of adequate funds to cater for the needful.
“We are confident of benefiting from a durable inter-state link and the greater country because of the caliber of the contractor chosen to handle the project which means that the federal government is poised to leave a legacy in this part of the country and we enjoin all patriots to rally round so that we can benefit from what all of us will be proud of”
The contract of the road was awarded in 2017 at the cost of N 54 billion to the construction giant.