Personnel depletion truncating fight against deforestation in Cross River —- commission



Mr Tony Ndiandeye, Chairman, Cross River Forestry Commission on Tuesday says depletion of personnel in the commission is truncating the fight against illegal logging, thus causing deforestation in the state.

Ndiandeye spoke during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar.

He said that additional manpower would help the commission fight deforestation in the state.

Ndiandeye said that although some policies had been put in place to check illegal logging, yet the communities were fighting back.

The chairman said the commission would review its strategy in the fight against deforestation immediately the ongoing labour strike in the state was called off.

He said the commission would collaborate with neighbouring states of Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom, Abia and Benue to stop the offenders.

“Initially, we used to engage in sustainable forest management which entails felling old trees that can no longer absorb carbon and planting younger trees, but this is no longer happening,” Ndiandeye said.

He noted that the livelihoods of the forest bearing communities were dependent on the forests.

“So, the total ban in 2008, a United Nations programme on Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest degradation, a pilot scheme in the state, to teach community dwellers alternative survival strategies; did not succeed as expected.

“After waiting for so long without getting much, the illegal loggers went into the communities, bribed them, got the chiefs involved, did some papers and went into the forests and started felling trees.

“This led to a breakdown of confidence between the communities and the commission which we are trying to rebuild,” Ndiandeye explained.

He said there was also the challenge of funding for training and climate change.

“We are therefore pleading with the community elites to step up their campaign for the protection of the forests, to preserve our lives and that of the future generation,” Ndiandeye said. (NAN)