Emmanuel Alfred

The Council Chairman of Boki Local Government Area, Pastor John Ewa has vowed to withdraw his support for the ruling All Progressives Council (APC) ahead of the 2023 Elections if the alarming deforestation and illegal logging of timber from the Cross River State rainforest continues.

Pst. Ewa, who is also a member of the APC stated this at a Multi-Stakeholders Conference on deforestation on Tuesday, December 6, 2022, in Calabar, the State Capital.

Boki, which is in the Central in part of CRS has a vast rainforest one of the largest in Africa is always has suffered an alarming rate of deforestation in recent times and Pst Ewa noted that if the Executive Governor of the State, His Excellency, Sen Prof Ben Ayade wants to stop the depletion of the rainforest, he can do it with a snap of his finger.

He said: “As an administrator at the Local Government level, the argument initially was that it is not our responsibility, but even if it is not, as the Chief Accounting Officer, I am to account for the lives and properties, and the most important property we have in Boki is the forest.

“One of the Candidates asked me how to solve the problem, I said declare a state of emergency over our forest because that’s the greatest means we have in Boki.
You don’t have to be an expert to know that we have a crisis on our hands, and it is even more complex than the presentations I’ve heard here today. I am a serving Chairman in APC. If I am not sure and there’s no guarantee that the APC will protect our forest, I have no business voting for them.

“This whole thing begins and ends on the desk of the Chief Security Officer of the State [Governor Ben Ayade]. Any other thing is a joke.
“Recently, I came to see the current Brigade Commander of 13 Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Calabar, and he asked me ‘do you know who are involved in this thing?’ – I know what he meant. He told me that if we want this thing (illegal logging) to stop, let the Governor of the State call us and ask us to stop it”, Ewa said.

Earlier in his address, Mr Odey Oyama, Executive Director of Rainforest Resources and Development Centre (RRDC), noted that recent field surveys reveal that despite the existence of Forest Management Committee (FMCs) in forest communities; and contrary to the moratorium on logging operations declared by the Government of Cross River State, the cutting and removal of important forest areas is proceeding rampantly and extensively without the intervention of the Forestry Commission or the FMCs in the forest communities.


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