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Prosecute Illegal Loggers In Cross River, NGO

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Gov. Bassey Otu

Worried by the menace of illegal loggers, a non governmental organization (NGO), Citizens Against Crime  and Corruption (CACC) has called for the prosecution of all illegal loggers in Cross River State.

The CACC has also called for the prosecution officials of government particularly an unnamed Director in the Cross River State Forestry Commission for abetting illegal logging in the state.

The Director and Chief Executive Officer of the organisation, Jon Lovett, who made the call while speaking with journalists on Friday in Calabar, lamented that the activities of illegal loggers in the state have caused a lot of destruction to the State’s forest reserves.

He alleged that, “this is being aided by officials entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the forest.

“There is serious logging going on in the state’s forest reserves and we decided to form our organisation to complement the efforts of the state government in checkmating the activities of criminals.

“The issue of logging is a dangerous thing because the criminals are always armed.

“We want these persons involved in illegal logging to be prosecuted and then the government should send people into our forests for fact finding”.

Lovett further noted that his team had identified communities where massive destruction of the forests is ongoing including  Okokori, Old and New Ekuri, Agoi Ekpo, Agoi Igbami, Iko  Esai and Owai Ifupa, among others.

He decried the situation where petitions against some identified illegal loggers and government officials were sent to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Police authorities and nothing has been done and “the lives of the people are under threat.”

The CACC Director and Chief Executive Officer also said, “the lethargy of officials  have emboldened the illegal loggers and they are now investing massively in acquiring forest reserves with their ill-gotten wealth at the expense of the society.”

Recall that the state government had few months ago lifted the about 15 year old ban or moratorium on logging and even set up a taskforce to monitor the nefarious activities of illegal loggers yet illegal logging is on the increase. 

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