Group launches Eco-Guards for forest protection
As part of efforts to check the reckless logging in Cross River forest, over 300 Eco-Guards have been inaugurated as volunteer’s members of the task-force on anti deforestation.
The State Government had recently put in place the State’s Anti-Deforestation Task-force with Mr. Odey Oyama as the chairman to check illegal logging and deforestation in the state.
While inaugurating the Eco-Guards and donating equipment in Wula, Boki Local Government Area (LGA) recently, the Executive Director of Development Concern (DEVCON), Mr. Martins Egot said: “We are supporting the Task-force with Eco-Guards, equipment and other items because we share in the vision of protecting the forest of Cross River State”.
He said, DEVCON is basically an environmental organization that is geared towards sustainable management and protection of Cross River forests, “we have presented equipment, uniforms and our Eco-Guards are being inaugurated as volunteer’s members of the Cross River State Task-force.
“ The Eco-Guards across the state are 300 spread across the main four forest LGAs of Boki, Obubra, Akamkpa and Etung. Basically we have given out about 300 T-shirts and caps and about six GPS, six cameras and then some jungle boots to be use in the forest for the monitoring”.
On his part, the Chairman of the Anti-Deforestation Task-force thanked DEVCON for the support as saying, “I have seen the kind of destruction that is going on, I don’t believe in mounting of check points in the highway, they should stop the destruction that is going on because when you are on the highway, the destruction is going on inside the forest” and certainly the Eco-Guards will help in that regards.”
He suggested that the best approach to do check reckless logging in the forest “is to cut down the supply of chain saws by making sure that all the chain sources are out, that is the man who supplies the logger. If you cut off the chains of supply, you won’t have the need to stand on the checkpoint; the logging will no more be available for them. We cannot do it all alone, and we need this kind of corporation and of even the members of the communities who own the resources.
On the ban on logging, Oyama said “The essence of temporary ban is to allow stakeholders, all the communities to come and sit on the round table and have a discussion about these resources on how we can best manage the resources without depleting it the way we are doing.
“When we all agree that this is how we are going to go about it, it must be sustainable management of the forest. If a logger wants to log, you will have to go to the forestry commission and obtain a permit, if it is a community forest, we will give you our community consent letter. You will agree with me that in the last eleven years, communities have not benefited royalty, government has not generated revenue”.