Cross River Signs Forestry Commission Law
Sept 09, (THEWILL) - Cross River State Government has taken a major step towards the sustenance and strategic management of its vast forest reserves. The step was taken Wednesday, by the signing into law of the State Forestry Commission law by the Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke.
According to the Governor, the documents will provide the legal tender for the sustenance of the forest and its eco-system in the state, which holds about 60% of the total forest reserve in the country, stating further that the state considers its commitment to forest conservation as a call to national duty.
"Indeed, we are putting in place a forest strategy that can make an effective contribution to poverty reduction, job creation, environmental conservation and also central to attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. The law will ensure that the communities who have over the years partnered with us in conservation, enjoy the benefits that accrue," Imoke stated.
The law empowers the Forestry Commission to regulate the activities of Ministries, Parastatals, Local Governments, Departments, Organizations, statutory bodies, as they relate to forest and forest resources and wildlife conservation issues in the state. It will also establish links with relevant national and international regulatory policy making and funding bodies for the benefit of bio-diversity conservation and sustainable forestry in the State. The commission is also to ensure a sound wildlife and forest management within Cross River State, and to ensure strict compliance with international conventions and treaties on natural resources management, among many others.
Mr. Odigha Odigha, Chairman, state Forestry Commission, in an introductory remark, said the law is important as at the advent of the administration, Governor Liyel Imoke had a lot of initiatives to move the state forward, adding that with the new development, the Commission has been given a legal backing.
"This is a wonderful development. It is a moment that says clearly that we are giving legal expression to the vision of Cross River State towards sustainable environmental protection. We are hopeful that the law will enhance participatory forestry management in the State, and will open the door for a lot of aid giving agencies to support Cross River State", an elated Odigha stated.
Mr. Fidelis Ugbo, Secretary to the State Government in an opening speech, noted that the management of the forest and its resources needed to be guided by law and the occasion was a moment the whole world had been waiting for to see how the State backs up its intention.
Ugbo explained that the law will enhance forest management as well as address issues on rural poverty reduction and open the door for donor agencies to assist the State manage its forests, describing the occasion as "an expression of political will and commitment for the State to undertake its programmes".
It would be recalled that Cross River State is at the forefront of the fight for the protection of our environment, and is a bio-diversity sanctuary. The state has been very active in the global climate change debate, which necessitated the nomination of the Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, into the Governor’s Global Task force on Climate Change, chaired by the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.