BARR AKIBA-:- Calabar-Itu Road: Cross River Government Ready to Pay Compensation, Urges Federal Government to Expedite Road Project.

Senator Prince Bassey Otu, the Governor of Cross River State, has called upon the Federal Government to expedite the construction of the Calabar-Itu road, facing delays due to compensation-related issues.

This call was made during an on-site assessment exercise of the road by Barrister Ekpenyong Akiba, the Special Adviser to the Governor on General Duties, who echoed Governor Otu's concerns. He stressed the urgent need for federal intervention to address the compensation hurdles impeding progress.

Governor Otu spotlights that compensation in Nigeria is governed by the Land Use Act of 1978, emphasizing the necessity of fair compensation for affected landowners. He assured readiness of the state government to assume compensation responsibilities from the federal government to hasten the process.

“I'm here to also conduct a study in line with His Excellency's decision to assume the compensation responsibility from the federal government, which is commendable. However, we will prioritize those with ancestral buildings and legal structures. We've observed illegal constructions erected in anticipation of compensation, which we strongly disapprove,” Barrister Akiba affirmed.

Akiba urged the federal government to prioritize road construction in the area, highlighting economic losses and safety concerns due to the delays.

“We face significant challenges, with lives lost and movement severely restricted at times,” he noted.

He commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for compensation efforts on the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road and urged a review of compensation plans for the Calabar-Itu area.

Akiba, leading a team of journalists to the road site, elaborated on compensation criteria, emphasizing the importance of verifiable land ownership documents.

“Monies have been allocated by His Excellency for compensation,” he confirmed.

The state government has earmarked N600,000,000 for compensation, with disbursement scheduled to commence soon. Akiba reiterated the government's commitment to providing fair compensation to affected landowners with legal structures.

Effiong Eneobong Ita, a local landlord, voiced frustration over stalled construction, attributing it to non-payment of compensations. He appealed for prompt compensation to facilitate road rehabilitation and enhance community infrastructure.

“We urge authorities to compensate my father for this land so we can have a good road in Odupani Junction,” he urged.

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