By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Federal Ministry of Environment has expressed its readiness to support the Cross River State Government in environmental restoration with a view to protect its biodiversity.
Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammed Abubakar, made the disclosure in River state when he paid a courtesy call to the state Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara Esu, recently.
He said that his working visit to the state was to look at the ecological issues and the state’s dump site with a view to explore ways through which the Ministry can support the state in tackling the issues.
“The Federal Ministry of Environment is extending a hand of working relationship in terms of environmental restoration to Cross River.
“We just sent a team on waste management to the state, they have brought back the report and we are still looking at it to see how we can work together.
“Also, the Ministry has donated one million tree seedlings to the state to enhance the restoration of our environment,” he said.
He said that issue of mangrove in the state would also be looked at, adding that mangroves are special species of trees that are significant worldwide.
According to the minister the Federal Ministry of Environment was saddled with the responsibility of looking at ecological issues across the country.
“Different parts of the country have different ecological issues and we will take a look at that based on what is in each state, then draft a report for collaboration and cooperation in order to maintain the quality of our environment.
“Our aim is to make sure that we protect the environmental resources while utilising them for this generation and beyond.
He said “We have the Cross River National Park in the state and that park is our most important national park because of biodiversity issues and Cross River currently represents that as an apex state for biodiversity.
“The park came into existence in 1991 with five other national parks in the country and Cross River is the very best that we are proud of because it is the oldest surviving park in Nigeria due to its biodiversity issues”.
The Minister who described the Cross River National Park as one of the oldest forest in Africa, containing the oldest survival of plants in the world.
He further explained that the Park is rightly acclaimed to be the riches part of Nigeria’s biodiversity and on the part of United Nations, it is a biodiversity hot spot in the world.
In his response,deputy governor, Prof. Ivara Esu,lauded the minister for having a special interest in helping the state to tackle its environmental challenges.
Esu, who appreciated the state Commissioner for Environment, Mfon Bassey, for sustaining the clean and green status of the state, said Cross River harbours 58 per cent of the remaining tropical rainforests in the world.
While,thanking the Minister for the donation of the one million tree seedlings, adding that Cross River usually plants trees every year during the “Green Carnival to sustain the environment”.
He also appealed to the Minister to intervene in the ecological issues in the state with a view to restore the environment.