BAN ON LOGGING: C’River lawmakers urge state gov’t to lift moratorium

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Cross River Lawmakers have called on the State Government to, as a matter of urgency, lift the embargo on logging to usher in sustainable management of the State’s tropical rainforest NEGROIDHAVEN has confirmed.

The Lawmakers also wants the Forestry Commission to take adequate steps to implement the provisions of the Forestry Commission Law which, amongst other things, will greatly check deforestation.

These resolutions were taken following a Motion by the Member representing Boki 1 State Constituency, Hon. Obi Philip Bette.

In his presentation, Bette reiterated that, Cross River owns over 50% of the entire rainforest in Nigeria but that the rate at which the forest is being depleted is alarming and calls for concern.

According to the Lawmaker, the State Government had placed a temporary embargo on logging about 16 years ago but that instead of preserving the forest the embargo has rather led to massive illegal logging by criminals.

The lawmaker further stated that, regrettably most of the State’s timber is being carted away to neighbouring states like Ebonyi thus improving the economy of those States to the detriment of Cross River State.

“As a member of the State Assembly I know there is a law that has been passed by the State Assembly called Cross River State Forestry law and is very rich and if you go through it, it does not include ban or moratorium but it has been kept aside so, it is on that basis that I say we should remove the ban”. Bette stated.

In their various contributions to the debate, Members observed that the motion was very timely and that the embargo should be lifted very soon so as to stop the huge loss of the State’s much-needed revenue to criminals.

The Lawmakers observed that, the purpose for which the embargo was imposed has not been achieved rather the forest faces severe threats from the activities of illegal loggers. They added that the forest which has been the natural habitat of some rare animal species is fast being destroyed by rampart illegal logging and bush burning thus endangering the survival of such animals.

They emphasized that, proper management of the forest will also lead to job creation for the teeming unemployed youths as well as boost the state’s economy.

On his part, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Elvert Ayambem observed that the preponderance of opinion supported the lifting of the embargo.

He directed the clerk to forward the motion to the State Governor for implementation.