Other Forest-Risk Commodities
FRC LEGALITY RISKS
Nigeria’s production of forest-risk commodities is likely to increase in the future – the population is projected to grow from 206 million in 2020 to 400 million by 2050. More than half will live in urban areas with higher temperatures and more extreme weather events due to climate change. Agriculture in Nigeria constitutes 21 percent of its GDP, 36 percent of its employment, and is dominated by smallholders who own 0.5 hectares (ha) of land on average, many of whom live in poverty. Under these economic and demographic pressures, the forest reserves are at high risk of further encroachment by farmers, herders, loggers, and poachers. Political instability and continued use of forests by armed groups could also drive further deforestation. Forest law enforcement lacks capacity and resources, and there remains a lack of effective coordination between control of the wildlife trade, illegal logging, and sustainable forest management.
- Nigeria’s forest area has decreased by 9% since 2000, including a 12% decrease in forest cover in protected areas, despite legal protections, highlighting the challenge of preventing illegal deforestation.
- Agricultural conversion is the main driver of forest loss in Nigeria due to production of beef, millet, rice, cassava, and vegetables, which are mostly sold/consumed domestically.
- Export-oriented cash crops, particularly wood products, cocoa, cashews, and sesame, are also associated with an elevated risk of illegal conversion.
- Policies governing forest conversion and agricultural production are set by Nigeria’s 36 states and are not always publicly available, making it challenging to determine the applicable laws country wide.
- Illegal conversion of forest for agriculture is not seen as a priority for law enforcement.
- There are reports of violence tied to land grabbing and conversion and widespread reports of commodity theft across Nigeria.
Read more by downloading the Nigeria Timber Legality Risk Dashboard here.
CONSERVATIONISTS, Civil Society Organisations, youth leaders and community elders, at the weekend, raised the alarm over the presence of Chinese in Effi community in the Cross River Reserved Forest area for undisclosed business.
Giving the warning on the platform of Coalition Against Illegal Logging and Mining in Cross River, CALAMA CRS, the stakeholders said after an intensive round table meeting in Calabar to x-ray the situation it became imperative to let the public know of what was going on.
Environmental and ecology group, We The People, has charged the governor-elect of Cross River State, Senator Prince Bassey Otu, to take the issue of deforestation seriously, urging him to read the riot act to encroachers of the state’s forest reserves.
The Commissioner for Forestry, Ogun State, Mr Taiwo Oludotun, has warned village heads in the government-owned forest reserves not to indulge in unwholesome practices that may disrupt activities in the forests. He listed some of the unwholesome activities to include illegal felling of trees, destruction of trees for plantation of crops like cocoa, cola nut and illegal collection of flitches, noting that the unwholesome acts would no longer be allowed.
Members of the forest community in Akamkpa local government area of Cross River have called on the state government to check the high level of timber exploitation alleged to be carried out by one Ezemac International Nigeria Limited.
Officials of the Edo State Public Works Volunteers (PUWOV) have apprehended a suspected syndicate of illegal wood loggers who were allegedly caught felling and transporting trees at the forest reserve in Imoga Community, Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State.
A key report just launched by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), an agency of the United Nations is showing that rainforests, including those of the Niger Delta, the polluted oil and gas basin of Nigeria, are fast disappearing.
The Okomu National Park located in Ovia South West Local Government Area of Edo State was established in 1935 and is one of the seven parks in the country that is facing challenges. Among the challenges faced by the parks, it was gathered are conversion of the forest to plantation by cocoa farmers, illegal lumbering of trees by loggers and hunting of animals, among others.
A Non-Governmental Organization, Rainforest Resource, and Developmental Center, RRDC, has asked the Cross River State Government to furnish it with a detailed report of a fallen trailer in Ikom, laden with suspected illegal timber.
The United Nations (UN) has declared that Nigerian wildlife and forests are under severe threat with vast amounts of rare tropical woods being illegally extracted and smuggled out of the country. The UN also disclosed that the country has over the past decade evolved into a primary transit hub for the trafficking of wildlife products, including ivory, pangolin scales and other protected species.
Insight has been thrown into the cause of the protracted battle that now rages in Inikirogha community in Ovia South West L.G.A. in Edo State following an interview granted by the Western Zone scribe of the Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) Mr Olu Derimo, and published in an online media blog, www.congressng. com on the 28th March 2022. The youth leader attributed the attack on the community to a supremacy battle between Governor Obaseki’s SSA, Mr Godstime Ogidigba, and Mr. Robert Okubo over who controls the illegal logging business in the Okomu Forest Reserve and Okomu National Park.
Akure-Ofosu Forest Reserve was established to help protect what is now one of largest remaining tracts of rainforest in Nigeria, and is home to many species. But fire and logging is rampant in the reserve, with satellite data showing it lost 44% of its primary forest cover in just two decades; preliminary data indicate deforestation may be increasing further in 2022.
Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, yesterday vowed that his government would fight illegal wood loggers in the state, whose nefarious activities have led to depletion of the state’s forest reserve. Addressing newsmen in his office in Calabar, the governor threatened to use any political appointee and security agents aiding and abetting illegal logging as scapegoats.
Afi River Forest Reserve (ARFR), in eastern Nigeria’s Cross River state, is an important habitat corridor that connects imperiled populations of critically endangered Cross River gorillas. But deforestation has been rising both in ARFR and elsewhere in Cross River; satellite data show 2020 was the biggest year for forest loss both in the state and in the reserve since around the turn of the century – and preliminary data for 2021 suggest this year is on track to exceed even 2020.
The New and Old Ekuri community of the Cross River state in Nigeria are resisting the illegal logging of their forest to pave way for a proposed highway. The ICCA Consortium stands with the Ekuri community and calls for the immediate end of the illegal logging and violation of the community’s rights, including free, prior and informed consent, and continuous undermining of their longstanding efforts to conserve their forest
In recent times, Nigeria’s forests have decreased steadily due to indiscriminate felling by illegal loggers. Damilola Ayeni travelled to Ekiti, one of the most forested states in Nigeria, to uncover the crime going on under the shade of trees.
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