20th December, 2012
The Federal Government will fulfill all necessary protocols to ensure that Nigeria remain in the international timber market, a government official, said on Wednesday.
The Acting Director, Forestry Department, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr John Auta, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, that to achieve this; all machinery had been put in place, adding that the outcome of the just concluded forestry workshop was to check illegal logging of woods in some states.
Auta further stressed that the illegal importation and exportation of timbers into and out of the country had become a problem for the country in the international market.
He added that another problem was that the country did not even know the types of wood available in Nigeria, making it easy for people to import and export wood anyhow.
According to him, timber products from countries that have not signed the “Voluntary Partnership Agreement’’ laid down by EU were considered “illegally sourced products,” adding that if the country failed to sign the agreement by March 2013, its timber products would be shut out of the European markets.
NAN had earlier reported that any country that didn’t sign the Voluntary Partnership Agreement as laid down by the EU by March 2013 would not have its wood in EU markets.
Nigeria is one of the countries yet to sign the agreement, which expert said, could have grave consequences on its forest products in the international timber market.
Auta said one of the plans was to discuss and resolve all issues that would position Nigeria to key into the important EU agreement and also develop a draft on it.
He, however, said that the EU had sponsored a consultant, Mr Peter Lowes, who visited Nigeria and went round nine states to see the extent of illegal logging.
Auta explained that the main objective of the consultation was to assist Nigeria to fill the gaps in the draft report through further interaction with various stakeholders.
He expressed optimism that the draft would be developed and submitted to EU as soon as possible.