Home Uncategorized Cross River Lifts Ban on Logging, Environmentalists Hail Action With Reservations 

Cross River Lifts Ban on Logging, Environmentalists Hail Action With Reservations 

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Gov Bassey Otu

After 15 years of moratorium, Cross River state government has lifted ban on logging.

The then Senator Liyel Imoke government had in 2008 imposed a one year moratorium or ban on logging to allow sanity and accountability in the forest and pave way for the state to benefit from the REDD plus programme.

But unfortunately the ban went beyond one year till date paving the way for illegal logging which environmental experts had raised the alarm that over 91,000 tons of timber leave the state every year due to illegal logging and warned that in the next 10 years the forest in the state may disappear if the ugly situation was not arrested.

Apparently listening to general public outcry especially from environmentalists, the state governor, Senator Bassey Otu in a statement yesterday approved “the immediate lifting of ban on logging in Cross River State. The Anti-Deforestation Task Force on logging is hereby dissolved”.

The statement which was signed by the Secretor to the State Government, Prof. A. Owan Enoh, said the governor also directed that, “as enshrined in the Cross River State Forest Law and Regulations 2011, any Illegally sawn wood across the State is considered an offence and to face compoundment.

“Furthermore, prohibition of sawing wood in the forest reserve is still in force. All registration of forestry related activities such as timber permiteeship, non-timber perrniteeship, registration of farmers in the forest reserve are to report to the Cross River State Forestry Commission for compliance”.

He said “all ongoing farming/mining in forest reserves are expected to report to the Cross River State Forestry Commission for authentication. Members of the public are required to ensure compliance as government sues for co-operation of all. Defaulters of this directive will be prosecuted”.

Environmentalists have lauded the action of the state government saying its “a step in the right direction”.

The Executive Director of Panacea for Developmental and Infrastructural Challenges for Africa Initiative (PADIC AFRICA), Dr. Martins Egot said even though the action by the governor is a good development, “my concern is in the level of preparedness of the forestry commission to take up this task effectively with their weak manpower, no Chairman and other appointees in place, no structures in the field, no vehicles to carry out this huge operations, with very few staff on ground to face these forest  bandits in the field, among other gaps. 

“The civil society will continue to engage. At list this is indicative that our voices are far reaching”.

On his part,  the Executive Director, Rainforest Resource and Development Centre (RRDC), Mr. Odey Oyama also commended the lift of ban by the governor saying “recently, I have been inundating the governor and his dear wife with WhatsApp posts on matters related to increasing rates of illegal logging by forest bandits and their local surrogates as well as foreign syndicates.

“Yesterday, I was compelled to forward to him again, our Environment Cluster Memo and Addendum on Forestry Commission.  I prevailed on him to read through the 2 documents, and I emphasised that the recommendations will guide him appropriately”.

Oyama said “my only concern with his action is that the procedure for lifting the ban and dissolving the Taskforce is not consistent with our recommendations.

 “We had recommended that, since the role of the Taskforce and the Ministry of Climate Change and Forestry conflict with the statutory duties of the Commission, the duo should be merged under the Forestry Commission to avoid duplicity and conflicts that are evident in their operations. We further recommended that the capacity of the Forestry Commission be enhanced to the level where it can take full professional charge of its legitimate responsibilities before the ban on logging is considered”.

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