Imoke Bemoans Deforestation

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If the spate of destruction of forests in Cross River State continues , the state will go without any natural habitats in less than twenty years.

Senator Liyel Imoke, the governor of the stated this in Ogoja while flagging off the 2011 tree planting campaign in the state.

Imoke, who made the sordid revelation through his deputy, Mr Efiok Cobham, said the state was naturally blessed with abundant forest reserves but this has been consistently destroyed by loggers who arbitrarily cut down trees without planting new ones.

“The streams are drying up, we are experiencing hotter weather than before, wind storm is wreaking more havoc than we have ever experienced, let me tell you that if we continue to live the way we are living, we do not have a future because in the next twenty years, we shall have no more natural habitats and that means no food because the animals and the fishes would be finished,” the governor declared.

He said the theme for the 2011 tree planting theme, ‘Tree Planting and Climate Change’ is aimed at planting five million trees across the state and called every one in the state to at least plant and nurture two trees.

“We started the campaign in Akamkpa forest in 2009, to increase our climate change mitigation activity because living in harmony with nature cannot be compromised, since our very essence comes from nature.” According to the governor, the tree planting exercise is to ensure the preservation of indigenous trees which for centuries have not only served as food for humans, but habitat for the wildlife that abound in the state.

“We are totally committed to this and what ever it costs us, we must ensure that our generations yet unborn have a conducive natural environment.”

The governor said the anti-logging ban will continue to be enforced in the state and called on the chiefs to ensure that they do not connive with loggers to cut down trees.

“Any chief who colludes with logger to cut down trees is an enemy of the society and government would not take it kindly with such chief when caught,” warned.

Mr Edward Ogon, the State Commissioner for Environment who said the venue of the flag off campaign, St Bernard Primary School, Igoli, Ogoja is his alma-mater, expressed nostalgia about the trees which existed there in the seventies and eighties which have all been cut down.

“There used to be a groove over here and all around the school, but this is no more,I can see the reason for the constant devastation of Ogoja by wind storm, because the trees which formed a natural defence to the environment against the wind have ll been cut down,” he said. The explanation that the constant devastation was caused by witchcraft was meaningless, because there is a scientific explanation for the constant disasters in the area. He called don the people ton plant trees.

—Emma Una/ Calabar