Cross River Moves To Boost Forest Renewal

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River has expressed his administration’s resolve to legislate against the use of wood for roofing to check deforestation, restore lost greenery and boost forest regeneration.

The governor declared this in his office recently while playing host to Ms Elsie Attafuah, the Senior Regional Technical Adviser, United Nations Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) programme, as visitor at Government House, Calabar.

The governor in his words said: “We are in a process of enacting a new law that will prohibit the use of woods for roofing and encourage the use of steel instead.

“As we speak, a company is already on ground to start production of these roofing materials to meet the needs in the industry and reduce the dependence on wood as deliberate plans to save and protect the forest.

“So, very soon when the house passes the law, we will stop roofing with woods and when this happens, the demand for timber will drop drastically”.

He urged the UN to adopt more practical approaches o this issue, saying that the state government expected the REDD programme to impact in a way that will make host communities respect reserved forests across the state.

Acknowledging the REDD programme focus on training and educating people on understanding measurement analysis baselines, and safeguards, Governor Ayade argued that such programme must be tailored towards the needs of the people and improve their living standards.

He stated; “REDD PLUS is a plus and so please reflect on the needs of my people. Please fast track this readiness so that we can get into the investment phase because truly, everything REDD has done is wise.

“Essentially, REDD Plus is intended to preserve the forest for the good of mankind. So, if that man that you are preserving the forest for has to die of hunger, REDD must be coming too slow.

“So, for me as a governor, a professor of Environmental Science, a lawyer, a combination of all these tells me clearly that the communities are not having a fair deal.

He added: “What they have not done is that they have not been able to put one tree on the ground, so I don’t know how you want to reduce emissions when you are not focusing on the practical aspect.”

Earlier, Attafuah told the governor that she was in the state with her team to commence the implementation process of the programme and assured that the REDD would bring the desired benefits to the communities where the project was being carried out.

She stressed the need for a policy dialogue at the highest level, saying that such would be necessary for the smooth transition of the UN-REDD projects from strategy to implementation.