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Cross River Partners Fed Govt, World Bank to Forestall Impacts of Environmental Degradation in the State

Cross River Partners Fed Govt, World Bank to Forestall Impacts of Environmental Degradation in the State

The Cross River State Government in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Environment and the World Bank has completed a 5-Day tour of environmentally degraded areas in the state.

The visit, aimed at identifying areas of coastal erosion for strategic interventions, was led by Mr. Joseph Akpokodje of the West Africa Coastal Area (WACA) Management Programme Implementation in Nigeria.

Akpokodje said WACA’s mission is to conduct a pre-feasibility study on environmental degradation to identify challenges peculiar to Calabar coastal areas as part of strengthening 17 West African countries to reduce the vulnerability of their coastal areas and promote climate-resilient integrated management.

According to Akpokodje, Cross River, Delta and Lagos are the three states earmarked for implementation of the pilot project phase in Nigeria.

The delegation visited coastal areas such as the Anantigha mangroves, Tinapa coastal site, the Calabar Export Processing Zone, Nigeria Port Authority arena and the Henshaw Town Beach Market axis.

The entourage was received by the Honorable Commissioner for International Development Cooperation, Dr Inyang Asibong on behalf of the state governor, Professor Ben Ayade.

Dr Asibong, who conducted the teams round the affected sites in Calabar, said that the state government was prepared to collaborate in forestalling further degradation of the ecosystem.

Asibong: “This is a welcome development for Cross River to have this partnership with the Ministry of Environment and the World Bank. We have lost a greater part of our ecosystem to the menace of erosion.

“Cross River is one of the 25 biodiversity hotspots of the world and home to the largest rainforest in Africa. As a government we are by this reiterating our commitment to ensuring a successful implementation of this programme,” she stressed.

At a courtesy visit on the deputy governor, Prof. Ivara Esu, the delegation was assured of the state government’s cooperation to forestall impacts of environmental degradation, which he noted was threatening the ecosystems.

The Prof. Esu appealed to the delegation to liaise with the University of Calabar for manpower and information on the different project areas.

Earlier on, Commissioner for Environment, Hon. Mfon Bassey, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Aye Henshaw said the West African coast is facing a range of problems that are both natural and made-made.

Bassey argued that coastal degradation was devastating as several families have lost lives and valuables to erosion and landslides, while expressing hope that with the pre-feasibility study and resources, the project, which is to be implemented by the state Ministry of Environment would be squarely addressed.

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