Saturday, March 12, 2016 11:46 pm
Nigeria would lose out on the United Nations Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) Programme carbon credit under the Green Development Paradigm, with the construction of the Cross River Super Highway.
Dr Odigha Odigha, the former Chairman of Cross River Forestry Commission, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
REDD is a mechanism put in place by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since 2005.
It has the objective of mitigating climate change through reducing net emissions of greenhouse gases through enhanced forest.
According to him, the past administration in the state, worked hard to meet the requirements of the REDD programme through conserving its forest and putting in place a Cross River Forest Policy.
“As I speak, Cross River is the only state in Nigeria that has a forest policy. There is no forest policy even at the federal level.
“The last administration in Cross River would not have contemplated such highway and even if it did, my opinion would have been sought.
“Cross River has heritage of high tropical forest not found anywhere else in Nigeria, and it will be a shame if such heritage, the only surviving forest, is destroyed in such manner,’’ he said.
Odigha said that the Cross River people and the then government resolved on their own to sustainably manage their forest, under the REDD Programme Green Development Paradigm.
“So, we had to take the forest to see how we can manage it, in line with the REDD programme.
“The REDD Programme had $12 million dollars for carbon credit paid to any country and community that meets its requirements for reducing carbon emission through forest conservation.
“Even the rural people would benefit from this carbon credit, and it would serve as means of their livelihood, while gaining from other initiatives that ensure the forests are preserved,’’ he said.
According to him, Nigeria as a nation needs to preserve the Cross River high tropical forest, as the only surviving forest in the country.
Odigha said that in future, the forest, apart from earning carbon credit, could also be a huge foreign exchange earner for the government through tourist attraction.