60% of Nigeria’s forest lost to degradation – Official

The Conservator-General, National Park Service, Dr Ibrahim Goni, said 60 per cent of Nigeria’s valuable forest estate have been lost to degradation.

Goni disclosed this in a statement by Emmanuel Ntuyang, the Service Public Relations Officer (PRO), in Abuja.

Goni, who said this during a courtesy visit to Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs in Abuja, Sen. Ita Enang, reiterated the commitment of the Service to reverse the trend.

He informed the Senator of the 10 new National Parks recently approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, revealing that two of the new Parks are located in the Niger Delta region.

Goni said the region is important to the Service because of its “rich ecosystem diversity and rainforests, wetlands, mangroves, montane and derived savannah ecosystems, which are of high conservation value but are now threatened,’’ Goni stated.

He regretted that the South-East is the only the geo-political zone in the country without a National Park.

He said strategic partnership between the Park Service and the region would help in protecting the country’s critical natural environment in all geo-political zones of the country.

Responding, Enang called for the establishment of more National Parks in the Niger Delta to further boost the development of the region.

He said that establishing more National Parks in the region would not only enrich the bio-diversity of the area but also have far-reaching implications on the security situation in the region. 

He specifically proposed the establishment of a National Park around Itu-Ini, Ikono and Eastern Obolo areas of Akwa Ibom State and the adjoining forest of Arochukwu-Ohafia area in Abia State.

“This is to ensure that the forest belt, which is under serious threat, is protected.”

Enang, who promised to liaise with the government of Akwa Ibom State, noted that the proposed parks would help the people enjoy the benefits of sustainable conservation.

He also promised to liaise with the governments of Ebonyi, Abia, Imo and Enugu states to facilitate the establishment of National Parks in the zone.