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Foreigners engage in illegal tree felling in 16 states, activists raise the alarm

Foreigners engage in illegal tree felling in 16 states, activists raise the alarm
May 26
18:50 2021

The Nigerian Human Rights Community (NHRC) says illegal tree felling and exportation pose a major threat to the livelihood of indigenous people across the country.

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The group on Wednesday warned that forest reserves, wood species, and economic trees are being “mauled down with desperation”.

Forests in Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Kogi, Plateau, Bayelsa and 10 other states are listed as the most affected.

Taiwo Adeleye, NHRC publicity secretary, accused Chinese, Koreans and Lebanese nationals of being the principal culprits in the environmental degradation.

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“In the past three months, the NHRC has been receiving reports from across the country from indigenous peoples whose livelihood is threatened and their forest resources are at the verge of extinction. These communities are helpless,” Adeleye noted in a statement.

“They face a hopeless situation. The most affected communities are in Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Lagos, Osun, Cross Rivers, Rivers, Bayelsa, Edo and Delta States. The Northern States most hit are Plateau, Nasarawa and Benue States.

“The main actors are Chinese, Koreans and Lebanese who have no other jobs than to invade the forests and cut down the trees for export in the most ignoble, vicious and callous manners. There is no Environmental Impact Assessment, (EIA), not free, prior and informed consent of affected indigenous communities while the desperate hunt for these precious forest reserves continues. It may interest Nigerians to know that these precious trees that cost fortunes are never replaced by these foreigners who feast on them.

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“Their main targets are Rosewood, Araria, Mahogany, Iroko, Annually, some 3.5° 0, approximately 350,000-400,000 hectares. Nigeria is home to some 285 mammals, 203 reptiles, 117 Amphibians, 775 different fishes, 864 species of birds, 285 mammals, 203 reptiles, 117 amphibians, 775 fishes and about 4,715 species of higher plants. The desperate search and destruction of these precious trees lead to the destruction and annihilation of these special species created by God.

“The implications on agriculture, sustainable livelihood, spiritual well-being, climate change, and political economy are unimaginable. These acts violate the Nigeria constitution and the various United Nations Conventions on the environment including but not limited to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

The group called on the federal government to issue an immediate ban on foreigners involved in the trade.

It also asked for the establishment of a panel of enquiry to investigate the effect of the trade on the affected communities.

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“NHRC calls on President Mohammadu Buhari, the National Assembly and the 36 state governors to immediately carry out the following without delay: Immediate Ban of Chinese, Lebanese and Koreans and all foreigners involved in illegal exportation of Nigerians precious wood resources,” the statement reads.

“Setting up of a presidential probe panel and judicial commissions of enquiry in all the affected states to identify, punish and sanction all the foreign interests and their collaborators involved in this illegal business.”

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