Calabar — A group of women has urged the Cross River government to officially gazette the state's decision to revoke acquisition of land for a proposed highway.
The women from Okokori, Etara, Ekuri Eyeyeng, Old Ekuri, New Ekuri, Iko Esai and Owai communities, backed by Wanel-aedon Development Association, held prayer sessions and sit ins to press their demand.
They blamed the government for refusal to comply with a Federal Ministry of Environment (FMoE) directive to "gazette the reversal of revocation order on the acquisition of 10km on either side of the 70km span" of the highway.
The FMoE had few months ago given the directive as one of 23 conditions for approval of the project.
Following public outcry, the state government had rescinded its earlier decision that revoked the rights of occupancy of communities on either side of the highway.
The women said they want an official publication on the revocation.
"The government should know the value of land to us. And mere verbal reversal is not enough because when the land was revoked, government published an official gazette to that effect. And now that they have reversed their decision, they should also publish the same for all to see.
"The women are sad and disappointed that the government of Cross River State has failed to cancel this gazette and are urging the government to do so," said one Madam Lucy Aidam at Owai community.
Leader of the women at Okokori, Mrs. Emilia Joseph, said: "We want our lands returned to us. The Federal Ministry of Environment has directed the state government to do the right thing. But we are yet to see any action from the state. We are impatient because that is our heritage, our pride as forest owners. We want our forest back."