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IDF: Group commences mangrove restoration initiative in Cross River communities

A Civil Society Organization (CSO), known as “We the People,”  on Friday began a mangrove restoration initiative in Idundu communities in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River.
The initiative, christened Community Participatory Restoration Project (CoPMaRP), was in commemoration of the International Day of Forestry (IDF), marked annually on March 21.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that IDF was first proclaimed in 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests while encouraging countries to plant trees.
The theme of the 2024 celebration is “Forest and Innovation: New Solutions for a Better World.”
During the inauguration of the project in Idundu, a riverine community, Ms. Ukeme Ekong, Cross River’s Head of Office for the CSO, said the project was new and aimed at restoring the mangrove while empowering communities in Idundu.
“Later in the year, we will be back here to do a pilot study and assessment to find out the main drivers of degradation in the communities as it concerns the mangrove forest.
“We will also work with the communities to see that we have tool kits that will help the community members to work on their own in restoring the mangrove forest in their communities after they are trained,” she said.
Ekong added that while they learned better ways to protect the mangrove forests, the project also sought to empower community members to build a stronger and more united front.
In a lecture on mangrove forests and innovation, Prof. Samuel Udo of Ethnobotany and Phytopathology at the University of Cross River (UniCross) said the mangrove forests did so much for man, especially carbon absorption and aerosol trapping.
Udo said the heat being witnessed in the world at present was due to excess carbon in circulation, drastically reducing forests to absorb it, and a depleted ozone layer.
He disclosed that the world must ensure that it does not get to a time when the children of future generations will start asking questions about animals they have not seen because they are extinct.
“We must handle the forest as if we borrowed it from our children and will pay it back, not like a gift from our parents that we can deal with however it pleases us,” he said.
On his part, another resource person, Mr. Lawrence Peter from Policy Alert, a CSO, said due to the massive devastation of Cross River forests, the rare Cross River gorillas were gradually migrating to neighbouring countries like Cameroon, where they were protected.
He called on everyone to join hands in protecting the environment, which would ensure a safe future for all.
Chief Effiom Ebanga, village head of Idundu, thanked the CSOs for creating awareness in his community.
He urged them to synergize with the state government for effective policy implementation that would curb deforestation. (NAN)
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