By Sylvia Akpan, Government House Correspondent
Cross River State Governor, Sen. Bassey Otu has reiterated his administration’s commitment to fighting illegal logging and other adverse environmental activities in the state.
According to a press release by Mr. Emmanuel Ogbeche, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, he made this known during an on-the- spot-inspection of 32 trucks with illegal timber at the border community with Ebonyi State on Monday.
Otu, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Hon. Emmanuel Ironbar, at the scene of the seized trucks at Ejiraga in Yala Local Government, warned all illegal loggers to use the window of opportunity offered by the government to regularize their operations in the state.
The governor decried the devastation to the rich biodiversity of the state by the criminal logging of the forest reserves in Cross River, warning of stiff penalties against the perpetrators.
He said the impounding of the 32 trucks is a demonstration of his government’s determination to match words with action.
While commending the Anti-deforestation Committee for their prompt action, he enjoined forest-bearing communities to assist the government by providing vital information to assigned agencies and desist from assisting illegal loggers and wildlife poachers, and smugglers.
Further, the governor has directed all owners of seized trucks with illegally sawn timber/logs to report to the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Cross River State Forestry Commission, within 7 days for necessary compoundment of their trucks.
Failure to adhere to this directive will lead to the final confiscation and auction of the impounded trucks and timbers.