By Patrick Obia
A former Attorney General and commissioner of justice of Cross River State, Attah Ochinke, has said that those cutting down trees planted by the government for no reason should be brought to book and made to pay heavily.
The lawyer made this known on his Facebook handle on Thursday where he implored the State to checkmate the cutting down of trees by real estate developers stressing the need for them to pay heavily for restoration as a deterrent to others to protect the green zones.
Making reference to a huge property being developed at MCC road, Ochinke wrote: “The developer of this property cannot hack down the trees planted by the state government on the road! He or she owns the plot and not the green verge outside the fence where the trees were planted. The green verge is a public area controlled by government.
“This is not a matter of blaming Governor Ayade as usual. It is not the governor’s primary function to control development; that primary responsibility lies with Town Planning, or the ministry of environment. Only recently the governor declared a public holiday so we can plant a million trees, and you have someone hack down trees in this hideous manner in the heart of town.”
The Governor had in April, declared the green carnival with the aim of planting 100 million trees. Several highbrow streets in the State capital, Calabar were shut down for the event with his counterpart in Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu in attendance.
He recalled with nostalgia, events that occurred during the administration of Mr. Donald Duke where an aide was nearly fired because the trees did not grow fast enough.
“I was in cabinet when these trees were planted in the Donald Duke administration. Duke almost sacked Chris Agibe, then Commissioner for Agriculture who handled the tree planting because, wait for it, the trees were not growing fast enough! You know Duke, no margin for error! So to see these trees now being pulled down is heart rending. This is what makes Calabar the Clean and Green city we always boast of.
“If everyone building in Calabar cuts down the trees in front of his house, what tree will be standing? I think the appropriate agency of government should confront this developer to pay heavily for restoration as a deterrent to others,” Ochinke said.
The developer of this property cannot hack down the trees planted by the state government on the road! He or she owns…
CrossRiverWatch findings reveal that the owner of the property had on September 18, 2019 while cutting down the trees, shut down access to the route from MCC by Mobil junction to MCC by 1st Avenue.
This forced commuters to use the old Odukpani road and cut through Archibong Edo lane into MCC. The operation lasted for over nine hours.
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