Cross River communities resolve to protect Afi mountain sanctuary
Following their determination to protect the remaining rainforest in Cross River State rainforest, sixteen communities of Afi Mountain landlord have resolved to protect the Afi Wildlife Sanctuary.
They made the resolution after a meeting organised by Development Concern (DEVCON) in partnership with the Rainforest Rescue, Hamburg Germany and the communities in Boki council of the state.
A traditional ruler in Boki council, Otu Fredaline Akandu, resolved to join forces with the partners to protect the sanctuary, which is a reserved area for endangered animal species like gorillas, elephants and other biodiversity.
“Afi landlord communities will be meeting regularly to discuss forest governance and speak with one voice, form a forest governance structure that will lead the process of forest protection by working with DEVCON and other development partners including relevant government agencies.
We will also enforce the ban on timber exploitation in the communities, support the eco-guards to carry out forest surveillance while we charge DEVCON to explore more opportunities to support the eco-guards, as they will insist on consultation before any project is carried out in the community,” they said.
Executive Director of DEVCON, Martins Egot, who convened the meeting said” it was intended to create a forum for all the 16 landlord communities of Afi Wildlife Sanctuary to come together and organise themselves to take charge of the protection of the Afi Mountain Sanctuary.
Chairman of the Coalition for Environment (NGOCE), Odigha Odigha, charged the communities on the need to come together for the protection of their forest and preservation of its ecosystem.
Executive Director of Rainforest Research and Development Centre (RRDC) Odey Oyama said the communities were not aware that the state government was only given conditional approval for the environmental impact assessment (EIA).