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Ayade to issue order compelling landlords to plant trees

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By Joseph Kingston, Calabar

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has said that due to the importance of trees to the survival of man, he would soon issue an executive order compelling all landlords in the state to plant at least four trees per compound.

The governor, who spoke in Calabar while inaugurating the 2021 Green Carnival with the theme: ‘Go Green’, said “We are going to have an executive order to be followed by a bill to the House of Assembly mandating every single landlord to plant a minimum of four trees per house.

“This will provide enough tree cover. This is necessary because when we had a storm in Calabar a few months ago, most roofs were blown away. If we had these trees, they would have saved us the agony of trying to fix our houses.

“We want to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and it is our responsibility to ensure that at no time do you drive through the streets of Calabar and have the sun at the back of your car. The top of your car should go through a canopy and this programme is intended to actually start the planting of trees.”

On illegal logging which some communities had been protesting against, the governor said that government was liaising with the State House of Assembly to change the forest laws.

“Because of the massive invasion of our forests by illegal loggers, we are going into consultation with the House of Assembly to perhaps move from absolute conservation to forest management.

“We are going to review our forest laws to guarantee continuous planting of trees and not having to wait for the annual green carnival to plant trees,” adding that his administration had acquired a tree transplanting machine to enable it to transplant trees from one part of the state to another.

In his remarks, the Commissioner for Environment, Mfon Bassey, commended the governor for putting in place policies and programmes like the Green Carnival to preserve the green economy of the state, saying the green carnival policy has come to stay.

Meanwhile some communities, including Edondo, Okokon and Ekuri have been protesting against what they see as the depletion of their forest through illegal logging.

Chief Edwin Ogar, village head of New Ekuri, told our reporter that “the forest is as old as when the destruction of the world by flood happened during the Bible days. The forest has been here for years.

“The size of the forest, particularly in Ekuri, as we have taken the ground survey is 33,600 hectares of forest land, but by virtue of this logging, from our estimation, we found out that over 10,000 hectares had gone down the drain. So, what is left now is about 23,000 hectares.”

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