By: Solomon Asha
The administration of Sen Prof. Ben Ayade, since it’s inception in 2015 places very great premium in ensuring an environment that is conducive and friendly to the well being of the people of the state and other Nigerians residing or visiting the State.
Shortly after assuming office as Govermor in the first term, Ayade set about to tackle the menace of mountains of heaps of refuse that had taken over the state capital and other major towns in Cross River.
Ayade did this by first providing the equipment and tools needed for the successful evacuation of refuse and went ahead to put and agency in place and people saddled with the responsibility to ensure the prompt evacuation of waste to keep Calabar and other towns clean, sparkling and green.
At the onset, there were teething challenges which emanated from the method and manner in which those saddled with the task of managing the refuse and waste in the state in general and Calabar in particular went about handling their responsibility based on the fact that they were new and were still learning and not because they were incompetent or that the number one citizen of Cross River didn’t provided the needed support.
All things being equal, along the line, those challenges were surmounted almost completely and today, it is no longer news that when you go to any street and all parts of Calabar municipality and Calabar South, you will see men working day and night to remove refuse and waste generated by residents of the capital city, and the same is do in other four Major towns of Ugep, Ikom Ogoja and Obudu.
As part of that altruistic effort to tackle the menace of refuse and waste and other environmental hazard associated with heavy-duty automobiles, other motorists and pedestrian and hawkers activities in Calabar in particular and the state in general, the great achiever of our time in all round development, Sir Benedict Ayade, proactively initiated several moves to address the challenges.
To address the issue of tons of waste being generated daily in the capital city of Calabar, Governor Ayade did not and is not dwelling only on the aspect of evacuating waste, but has moved a step further by ensuring that we transform our waste to wealth which will generate employment to several young Cross Riverians.
The waste to wealth project for Idundu where the dumpsite is located will be a great catalyst for the fight against poverty, as it will provide empowerment opportunities for the teeming youths of Cross River State, steady income for the waste generators. It will equally produce organic waste and feeds for aquatic culture and the establishment of biogas fertilizer which is already ongoing.
In line with the new thinking of making the ancient first capital city of Nigeria, clean and hazardous free, the smart thinking Governor of Cross River commenced the building of more than 8000 tracks capacity Haulage city with all the modern facilities as part of effort to permanently check-mate the daily menace of tanker drivers and other heavy duty drivers in Calabar.
Apart from the above stated moves, Ayade is also building a Calabar Central Park at the Picolo junction at the outskirts of Calabar to decongest the city of vehicular movements.
The govermor has also phased out the use of machete and cutlass as means of cutting grasses and keeping the lawns.trim and clean with sophisticated mowing machines to help maintain the green and clean status of Calabar as the cleanest city in Nigeria.
Again, in line with the policy of making Calabar a truly modern city, Sen Prof Ayade has equally designated certain areas of the city and period where hawkers can operate with reflective jackets just as they are restricted from certain areas, while also directing that hawkers who hawk their wares during the designate areas and time should not be harrass or intimidated by any person as they struggle to feed their families.
To stop the daily harrassment of taxi drivers and tricycle riders by any government agencies or association of any kind, leading to nuisance in our city, Ayade has in this year’s budget speech direted that nothing taxi drivers and tricycle riders fees should be paid once in a month and also at a reduced rate from what it used to be obtainable when the daily pay was in operation.
The other four Major towns in Cross River State are also enjoying a facelift as far as improvement on sanitation, traffic and waste management are concerned including provision of portable water, beautification of the towns, asphalting of streets and creating drianages.
Most importantly, as part of effort to decongest Calabar and to have in place a new city with all the first world economy facilities and to promote tourism, a new city measuring 3Km by 3Km at the twin Island in Calabar known as the city of Calasvegas is presently under construction and is to be the most beautiful and elegant city with all the first class facilities in the world; a place where people from all over the world will feel at home away from home.
Besides the CALASVEGAS, the Central Senatorial District is also to have it’s version of Calasvegas with the name, CENTICOT city while the Northern Senatorial District version is NOSTRADAM city, outside smaller towns that are earmarked for the other four Major towns and other Local Government Areas.
In the area of devastating erosion and landslides that which pose a huge challenge to almost all parts of the state due to the land texture and almost all year round heavy rains, Governor Ayade is not letting the monsters to sleep as he is doing everything possible to tackle the issues.
As part of effort by Govermor Benedict Ayade to ensure that the state continue to enjoy the collaborative patronage of NEWMAP, the state has continued to put in it’s best as far as NEWMAP projects are concerned.
In the recent steering Committee meeting of the project held in Abuja which the state delegation was led by the Commissioner for International Development and Cooperation, Dr. Inyang Asibong, Cross River under Ayade was rated high to be among states with high performance indices in the implementation of the NEWMAP projects and programme in the country.
The Commissioner for International Development and Cooperation, Dr Inyang Asibong who led the State delegation to the Steering Committee Meeting of the Project in Abuja, said Cross River State was listed amongst the States with high performance indices in the implementation of NEWMAP among the selected states across the Country.
Dr. Asibong acknowledged that all these benefits coming to the state is as a result of the efforts of the State Governor, Sen. Prof Ben Ayade who work tirelessly to attract the project to the State through the provision of an enabling environment for the program to thrive, and for the communities to enjoy the benefits of the intervention, based on some designed mechanisms. She disclosed that the aim of the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) is to reduce vulnerability to soil erosion in targeted sub-catchment areas including Cross River.
As a result of dynamic, proactive effort of the govermor in this direction, about ten communities across the State are to benefit from the World Bank assisted Cross River State Erosion Project, a subset of the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), with work ongoing in some of those erosion devastated communities in the state, while some have been completed.
The communities within the Calabar metropolis benefitting from the CRS-NEWMAP Erosion project intervention includes, Ikot Nkebre, Atakpa, Edim Otop, Ikot Ekpo, Ikot Anwatim, Ikot Uduak, Ikot Enebong, Nyanghasang and LEMNA/Agric Quaters.
CRS-NEWMAP project is a flagship Project which Cross River State government under the watch of the smart thinking Governor Ben Ayade paces great premium considering the very positive immense impact the projects and programme have created and bstill creating on the lives of the people of Cross River State and their environment and the social development impact it has in the state and the country at large.
amongst the States with high performance indices in the implementation of NEWMAP among the selected states across the Country.
The programm/projects under Ayade leadership in the state as disclosed by the Project Coordinator, Mr Fidelis Anukwa, have set up committees to sensitize the affected community members on the procedure for implementation of the livelihood activities and to take full ownership of the projects in their areas, while additional four Community Intervention Groups (CIGs) have been put in place in each of the affected communities, with legally registered ten Community Associations in operation.
In the same vein, as part of deliberate and concerted effort by the administration of Sir Benedict Ayade to ensure that citizens of the State and other Nigerians resident in Cross River and In particular imbibe the right attitude of waste disposal as against dumping waste in the gutters and drianages which contributed in no small measure as one of the main causes of erosion, and in line with the state’s policy thrust, the Community Action Plan and Livelihood Business Plan proposals for funding has been developed and reviewed.
Campaign to enlighten citizens on behaviours change as regards proper disposal of waste and how to handle the environment and soil while cultivating for farm and other activities so as to avoid erosion has been conducted across communities in the State, especially communities affected by devastating erosion.
This writer also want to use this medium to draw the attention of the ever listening governor of Cross River State, Sir Benedict Ayade, to the plights of the residents of Etinyin Abasi, Otomo, and a section of Orok Orok and Atamunu streets to the devastating erosions that have completely rendered greater sections of Etinyin Abasi, Otomo and extreme end of Orok Orok impassable.
The truth is that if not checked now, the erosions activities which have started affecting a section of Atamunu will in the next coming raining season cut the street into two.
I certainly have no aota of.doubt that my Boss with the listening ears and a heart that can be easily be melted at the sight of suffering and degradation of human values will respond by directing that these areas that I had carried out a personal findings to ascertain the way the people are suffering and the level of erosions and land degradation will be moved with human milk of kindness to direct Cross River Commissioner for International Development and Cooperation, the amiable Dr. Inyang Asibong and NEWMAP to include these areas in the projects to be executed, or in the next batch of erosion sites to be tackled.
God bless Ayade, God bless Cross River State and the people of the state.