By Blessing Enagu, CRS-MOI Officer reporting from Ministry of Climate Change and Forestry

Sequel to the approval by the State Governor, Senator Prof. Ben Ayade, the Forestry Cluster is set to conduct a State-wide declaration and compoundment of offenders of illegally sawn timber across the State.

The exercise which is intended to sanitize the Forestry sub-sector, is a preparatory approach to the entrenchment of sustainable management practice as a way of checkmating illegal exploitation of timber and the mis-use of forest resources in the State.

According to the Commissioner for Climate Change and Forestry, Ntufam Donatus Etim, a composite framework would be put in place in line with the relevant Forestry Laws, adding that proceeds realized from the compoundment excercise  would be paid into government coffers.

He pointed out that a similar exercise conducted in 2014 generated huge revenue to the government treasury, stating that after the declaration window, a total ban shall be enforced to sanitize the forestry sector by a combined team comprising the Climate Change and Forestry Ministry, Forestry Commission, Task Force on Anti-deforestation and various security agencies.

 Commissioner Etim said a 14 member task team has been set up to facilitate the exercise within a period of two weeks.

A statement by the Commissioner for Climate Change and Forestry indicated that the Special Adviser to the Governor on Afforestation, Hon. Bette Obi  and Egbai Ojah are to serve as Chairman and Alternate Chairman of the Task Team respectively, while the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Timothy Akwaji is to serve as Secretary of the Committee.

Other members of the Team are the Director General, Due Process and Price Intelligence Bureau, Barr. Alphonsus Eba, Chairman, Task Force on Anti-deforestation,Mr. Odey Oyama,Mr Patrick Coco Bassey, Mr.Okorn Cliff Oyira and Mr.Joe Duke.

  The Task Team also included Mr. Daniel Adado,Mr. Frank Edu,Mr.Patrick Njah,Mr.Ekpenyong Bassey,Mr Emmanuel Assima and Mr. John Odey.

According to the Commissioner, the team is to liaise with leaders of Timber Dealers Association, Community Leaders and critical stakeholders to ensure total clean-up of the Sub-sector.

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