The member representing Boki 1 in the Cross River House of Assembly, Hon. Bette Obi has appealed to the government of Senator Bassey Otu to lift the over twenty years old ban on wood logging in the state because it has brought adverse economic results and encourage massive forest degradation.
Bette Obi who spoke on the floor of the House early in the week explained that the so called ban has over the years made the well trained forestry rangers and other officials idle since untrained government-empowered task forces, whose only interest is to make money for themselves, have taken over their statutory duties.
Honourable Obi who is a former Chairman of Cross River State Forestry Commission, pointed out that despite the ban on logging, several trucks of wood are still harvested every day from the forest and taken to neighbouring states like Ebonyi thereby denying the state government of legitimate revenue.
“Before the ban, the forests were managed with the cooperation of the local communities who were also paid royalties from the trees harvested. There was also sustainable management of the forest with critical species replanted in place of the ones harvested. But now armies of loggers just invade the forest, cut down every tree in sight after giving a pittance to the local chiefs.
“He wants the government to make adequate use of the Forestry Commission Law which he believes will help in check mating the wanton forest exploitation going on now. “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 it is very rich. 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.