By Jonathan Ugbal; Government House Correspondent
The Cross River State government has set out plans to ensure communities harboring its forest reserves will enjoy the full value of forest conservation as it will be utilized in a sustainable manner CrossRiverWatch can authoritatively report.
The governor, Senator Benedict Ayade disclosed this while receiving the Chief Technical Adviser of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, REDD+ program, in Nigeria, Allen Turner in his office today.
Ayade who said the state had over a million hectares of forest cover which is probably the largest in Africa expressed optimism that the partnership was going to ‘set the ball rolling in terms of aforestation’ as well as show that the state was a community at peace with itself and nature.
He described climate change as a global problem that needs local solutions adding that it was ‘insufficient’ to take the fact of Cross River’s forest cover and make the state the major Carbon (IV) Oxide (CO2) sink of Nigeria, while calling for a change in principle.
His words “Cross River State has come up with a team of solution architects to design a structural framework that will drive a new forest cover regime. To achieve this, it dovetails into my political ambition that we are going to create about a thousand jobs for young men and women in a program we call the green police.
“Allen Turner is here today to support us, to serve as technical adviser to ensure that we are REDD+ ready and above all grow our forest cover, provide a relationship between the communities and their forest and ensuring that communities also have the full value of forest, ensuring also that the principle of forest conservation shifts to forest utilization in a sustainable manner”.
On local solutions, Ayade maintained “we have the pleasure to announce a special force which we call the Green Police. The green police are young men and women who will be responsible for the management of our forest ensuring that they put an end to illegal logging, protect the forest, protect the watershed, protect the biodiversity and give full value to the forests”. In his remarks, Allen Turner who was in the company of the Permanent Secretary,
Forestry Commission, Perpetua Aji, said he was here to help and looked forward to working with the state government.
“The REDD+ program is not a program that comes from outside, it is a program that belongs to you. It is going to require developing a strategy as the governor said and my role is to help you frame that strategy in a way that meets the requirements and expectations of the international community of 194 nations that have signed the United Nations climate change convention”.
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