Andy Essiet, Calabar
As the logging of timber persists, Cross River communities have risen in its defense with strategic action
Recently the Director General of the Cross River Afforestation Commission, Mr. Austin Anoh had outlaw illegal logging as it set up a joint task force comprising security agencies and forest conservation experts has been constituted in the state to help curb the excesses of illegal loggers and conserve the remaining mangrove and rain forests.
But this illegal logging has continued unabated as the report by the Rainforest Resources Development Centre (RRDC), led by Mr. Odey Oyama has indicted the state government and 79 companies and individuals for the continuous depletion of the forest in the State and called for an urgent action.
Apparently taking the bull by the horn, Boki Youths on a mission to save the small percentage of the Boki Forest left, have declared in a warning to illegal loggers that “henceforth, we will resist their activities, we will deflect their tires and we will impound their trucks”.
Boki Youths Chairman, on behalf of Boki Youths, Comrade. Ekiewa Douglas (Jnr) in a statement dated September 25, said
“as young people of this generation, history will do us bad if we fail to draw the attention of the general public to the recent situation that is itching and causing serious chaos in the hearts of Boki youths in our dear LGA. It may interest you to know that, a new wave of destruction is descending on the forests of Boki in Cross River State by unknown men who are involving on illegal logging.
“It may also interest you to know that, the Boki’s forests is facing serious threats from the activities of a cartel of illegal loggers. The area around the community of Boki is “inundated with piles of wood ready for evacuation”; several kilometres inside the forest and nothing is save anymore due to this illegality in our land at the detriment of living souls and other creatures”.
The youths argued that ” due to the general knowledge on global warming, we need not dissect the more on the scientific implications and danger behind deforestation in the geographical location of the aforementioned area; that unnecessary cutting down of trees to make selfish gains can cause danger to human lives and less oxygen in our vicinity. Cutting down of trees are means of ruining down the plants, animals and ecosystems thereby encouraging increase in carbon monoxide with less percentage of oxygen”.
“May we quickly draw the attention of the general public to this very fact that, the reason we must save the rainforests is because they shelter more plant life and animal life than any other environment in the world. Some years back, the Boki rain forest was known globally as the best protected areas for drills in the world and the only area that protect the important population of the several endangered species including the critically endangered Cross River gorillas, the Nigerian-Cameroun chimpanzee, the drill and the grey necked rockfowls, the Boki forest has the largest forest blocky left in Cross River State and Nigeria at large, ranging from the Afi Mountain Wildlife sanctuary, the Mbe Mountain and the Cross River National Park Okwanwo Division, hence making Cross River State a huge beneficiary of the carbon credit from the international donors .
“With the rate of deforestation we may nullify very important plants which may have the power to get rid of potentially dangerous diseases. Over 2,000 of them could be used to help find the cure for cancer. At our current depletion rate 5-10% rainforest species will be lost every decade. That means after 10 decades there will be no more rainforest species remaining”.
They further stated that “It is convincing and educating to disclose to the public that, we need to save our rainforest, this is predicted on its production and scientific benefits to Cross River State and the entire globe. Approximately 57% of our rainforests are benefiting the country. This is important because the country need those rainforests for both living and financial reasons.
“We need to bring to the notice of the general public and especially these illegal loggers that as a body, we have decided to take it upon ourselves in recovering our forest by fighting against illegal timber and logging in Boki LGA just to bring an end to this menace in our LGA, in other to safe our people from the unforseen disasters like Cancer, cholera, poliovirus, landslide, earthquake etc, that may befall us in the nearest future as a result of illegal logging in our LGA” .