Imoke Identifies Challenges To Forestry Programme


Calabar, Sept 28, (THEWILL) - Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State says the introduction of an alternative source of livelihood to the forest communities remains one of the greatest challenges faced by government in its efforts to check deforestation and poaching.

While receiving Jo Swinson, Member of Parliament, House of Commons, London during a courtesy call in Calabar on Friday, Imoke disclosed that maintaining the livelihood of forest communities without tampering with the forest endowment, remains an issue which the state intends to partner donor agencies to increase the forest potentials.

According to Imoke, any gain realized from the partnership must be made to serve the forest communities, adding that the identification of the problems of the communities remains one of the steps to check poaching and illegal logging within the forest.

The Governor said the State has made significant progress in that regard with the formation of the State Forestry Commission, enactment of legislation to check illegal activities and the introduction of capacity building programmes for them to create job and wealth as well as attain development.

He reasoned that high level conservation programme has become necessary because continuous dependence on the forest would lead to deforestation and degradation, which behooves on government to find means of livelihood for the people so that its programme can succeed, adding that the State hopes its achievement will attract foreign support to complement its forestry programme.

Imoke noted that Cross River Forestry programme when fully operational would be a success story which will attract other States to emulate.

Jo Swinson, Member of Parliament, House of Commons, London, who was accompanied by Mr. Odigha Odigha, Chairman State Forestry Commission, said she was in the State on advocacy programme concerning climate change as a member of the British Parliament and in partnership with International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development.

Swinson said she was elated by the innovative approach of the State Government which ensures pragmatic measures to check deforestation and degradation, as her mission was to assess work done in Cross River in that regards and see what the parliament could do in partnership.

She commended the state for its welfare programme as well as legislation to check deforestation and poaching.