By Ogar Monday
Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade says the state is basically a forest considering the fact thatit has one of the few remaining forest reserves in Africa and the highest in Nigeria.
The Governor said this, Tuesday while declaring open the validation workshop of the United Nations Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) program in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital.
“Cross River State holds 58% of the entire forests cover of Nigeria, 6000 square Kilometers of our land completely tick forest. We have a total land mass of about 21,000 square kilometers, the additional vegetation cover of another 7,000 square kilometers; which tells you that Cross River is basically a forest, and even the 58% percent is a subject of lack of unanimity in literature, because the truth is Cross River State is actually a forest” Ayade said.
He went on to attribute the “brilliant, beautiful and mature nature of Cross Riverians” to the fact that “being a forest we take the best oxygen” and pointed out that there is nowhere in Nigeria where a discourse or celebration on environment will be going on without a mention of Cross River State.
Furthermore, he commended the UN-REDD team for trusting the state despite negative press and rumours of the government mauling down tress to construct the Super Highway. “How could someone imagine a professor of Environmental science to do that?” he questioned.
The Senior Regional Technical Adviser, UN-REDD Mrs. Elsie Attafuah in her address described Governor Ayade as one of Africa’s most friendly environmental governor that is dedicated to the fight against climate change. She added that whatever strategy is adopted for Cross River State will be adopted and implemented in the national level as Cross River is serving as a pilot state for the program.
Also, the State Commissioner for Climate Change, Alice Ekwu in her remarks said that the state was chosen as a pilot state because of its unique position of the state in terms of forest conservation and its huge tropical rain forest.
The UN-REDD program is a mechanism put in place by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since 2005 and has the objective of mitigating climate change through reducing net emissions of greenhouse gases through enhanced forest.
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