By CrossRiverWatch Admin
A Civil Society Organization, We The People in collaboration with Integrated Mangrove Watch and Cross River REDD+ Community Coalition has called on the Cross River State Government to hands-off management of forests.
The call was made during a recent community consultation by the NGOs where it was also agreed that host Communities should be in charge of their forest (s). The round-table discussion which stemmed from recent consideration by the Legislature to lift the moratorium placed on logging, the CSOs posited that it would encourage indiscriminate logging of timber which was the order of the day in the State.
Earlier, the Executive Director of We The People, Ken Henshaw said the two year moratorium placed on timber logging in the State which lasted ten years, was a failure on the part of the Government and as such the State Forestry Commission cannot be trusted with the management of the forest.
Henshaw posited that, “As at 2008/2009, the Cross River State Government introduced the moratorium which was initially to last for two years but spanned over ten years and produced negative results. It was the failure of the Forestry Commission that necessitated the set up of the moratorium in the first place. The Task Force that was given the responsibility of maintaining the forest became the biggest problem of the moratorium. The highest level of logging occurred during the 10 years of the moratorium.”
During the meeting, there was also a call for the management of the forest to be handed over to the host Community in order for them to oversee the logging activities ongoing in their domain as they have often been left out, he said.
At the end of the forum, resolutions collectively made by the organizations bordered on the need for the management of the forests to be returned to the host Communities as opposed to being managed by the Forestry Commission and also, compensation should be given to the host Communities for the years of logging that was carried out without payment of royalties.
The forum also resolved to send out a communiqué in regards to the poor management of the forest reserves by the Cross River State Government, as well as visit the various mangrove Communities in order to enlighten them on the benefits of the forest trees and the need for them to secure what belongs to them.
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