Cross River State may be heading towards climate crisis as the pristine rain forest is fast vanishing, Nigerian Tribune reports.
The Cross River Rain Forest, according to experts, is the most relevant, expansive and sophisticated forest cover owned by Nigeria and West Africa. However, available statistics shows that 8,686 square kilometers has gradually vanished between 1991 and 2014.
Statistically, from 1999 to 2001, 1,514 square kilometers were lost, between 2001 and 2008, another 6,102 square kilometers were destroyed, while between 2007 and 2014, 1.070 square kilometers were lost making a total of 8,686 square kilometers in total from 1991 to 2014.
Meanwhile, between 2014 and 222, about 21 savage timber logging companies and 55 private plantations are being carried out in the Cross River Rain Forest without legal permits or records of environmental impact assessments.
Although, there seems to be no available records of square kilometers lost within this period, yet with evidence of deforestation obtainable on ground, Nigerian Tribune gathered that the damage may be worse than had ever recorded.
Some non-government organisations (NGOs) such as Citizens’ Solution Network, Rain Resources and Development Centre (RRDC) and We The People, with some local government chairmen, have remained vocal and critical on the eminent dangers of forest destruction.
According to the Country Director, Citizens Solution Network, Richard Inoyo, in the next 10 years, if nothing is done to stop forest destruction, Nigeria will face severe environment and climate crisis.
“I think the least we can do is for us to get to the real issue and the issue is that Cross River state doesn’t have the powers to stop timber logging. We won’t fight and win this issue in Cross River State alone; we have to take the issue to the heart of the country,” he said.
“All Nigerians must come to understand that Cross River State holds the tour of biodiversity of the country. We have to let them know the threats that we face. The time to end this is now, the Federal Government is not prioritising the protection of our forest and if nothing is done in the next 10 years, we are in for a crisis,” Inoyo said.
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