Mining inside Protected Areas, an Aberration, CP Cross River Park

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By Innocent Orok

The Conservator of Park, Cross River National Park, Mrs Caroline Olory, has cried out against mining activities ongoing inside Nigeria’ s biggest Rainforest ecosystem in Cross River as an illegality and aberration that must be stopped immediately.

The conservation award winning Conservator and first female ranking officer on natural resources conservation in West Africa, slammed the Nigerian Cadastral agency for deliberately violating its own extant regulations and protocols and that of National Parks Services, which forbids mining in and around protected areas in Nigeria.

CP Olory, who was the immediate former officer in charge of Old OYO National Park, in Oyo State, disclosed that miners with licences from the Minning cadastral agency in Abuja have invaded the two Parks and through their nefarious activities , disrupted the peace, preservation and health of biodiversity ecosystems in the Parks.

Speaking on NTA LENS on Africa” programme, monitored in Lagos, CP Olory wondered why a government agency with a mandate not to issue licences for mining in protected biodiversity environment are bent on destroying the ecosystem and giving official cover to minning organisations determined to pollute both surface and underground waters through applications of dangerous chemicals in their operations.

” The Conservator General of the Federation, Dr Ibrahim Goni, has repeatedly visited the mining cadastral office to advise against breaking the laws guiding protected areas. Sometimes, these desperate licencees will vacate their activities, and again, others will return, brandishing licences issued by the cadastral agency, and this is worrisome, retrogressive, and inimical to natural resources conservation expectations. She explained.”

On other threats to Nigerian conservation efforts, CP Olory stated that though Nigeria rainforest ecosystem holds about ten percent of global biodiversity resources, human activities such as deforestation , illegal logging, illegal hunting and consumption of wildlife, population growth, farming activities and rural poverty as oxygenators of conservation retardation.

“In the early 30’s, the population was small, and the rural communities were well catered for, but that had changed, forcing a lot of degradation and invasion of the forests ecosystems. Even kidnappers have turned forests poorly protected by states and local authorities into their den, which again is a big minus for conservation efforts. The states and local governments’ forests and games reserves are gone, and even the sacred grooves of the communities have been wiped off by rapid and uncontrolled urbanisation, which are not good for conservation, ” she further explained

Going forward, CP Caroline Samuel Olory called for sanity and collaboration amongst federal and state government agencies to ensure that the best protection and preservation practices are fully adhered to and all forms of illegalities stopped henceforth Our forests beings deserve our attention and protection since we same planet so all hands must be on deck to do the needful as even climate change presents its own challenges.

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