Nelson E. A. Etta, Clan Head of Iko-Esai community in Akamkpa Local Government Area, has exclusively told www.calitown.com that he does not believe the best way to conserve the Cross River Forest is to make a super highway through it.
The traditional figure, who spoke to www.calitown.com at the Channel View Hotels, Calabar, during the CRS REDD+ Stakeholders forum, a United Nations funded initiative on forest conservation and management, came clear that “in a community like mine, we have seriously battled with loggers bent on exploiting the forest. What Ayade’s road (the super highway) will simply do is open up the forest to these loggers who have been waiting for the opening up of this forest. While they may have entered some part of it, the road will now help them enter all parts of the forest and I can assure you that while you people stay here and make all the noise, those of us who come from the communities where this vast forest is located, know that the signs on the ground do not point to this forest being around in the next couple of years…and that is the truth”.
When his attention was drawn to the fact that Ayade has the blessings of environmental experts and the law to pursue the road project, Etta responded thus; “the agitation for that road has been there for long, so it was written that Ayade must be the one to come and create the road? The governor is dabbling into something that will bring destruction to our communities and you people are not seeing beyond the immediate gains of today”.
Etta had earlier caused a mild stir at the gathering when he asked the Commissioner for Climate Change/ Forestry, to prove that Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade, was not committed to deforestation. While the Commissioner made unconvincing prove, it was clear from her response that the question had rattled her.
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