BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja
The Conservator of Park, Cross River National Park, CP Caroline Olory has disclosed that National Parks hold the key to mitigating climate change across the country.
She stated this on Wednesday in Abuja at a workshop organised by the Development Agenda in collaboration with Environmental Media Correspondents Assodiation of Nigeria with the theme: “Climate Change and COP28: The Way Forward For Nigeria.”
The 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) scheduled to hold in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, will garner more than 70,000 participants, including heads of state and government, government officials, representatives of international organisations, business leaders, academics and civil society organisations.
Olory lamented that climate disasters are happening at frightening rates in Nigeria, and a panacea to cushion the effect is the standing forest which serves as carbon sink that would absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
She informed that the country is blessed with seven functional national parks and additional ten approved by the Federal Government that are undergoing the processes for full take off.
“These standing vegetations remain a hope for mitigation of climate change effects in the country, given a plethora of roles which include delivering on the mandate to protect the ecological integrity of the areas designated as national parks through protective conservation, management, preservation and propagation of Nigeria’s threatened and diminishing biodiversity.
“To achieve these, the parks undertake activities such as patrols, surveillance, checking of illegal activities, enforcement of relevant international treaties and conventions which Nigeria is a signatory,” she added.
The Cross River national park, which is one of the seven national parks in the country was established in 1991 to protect the last of the remaining 10 percent of the tropical rainforest in Nigeria, having lost over 90 percent to poor land use.
It has a unique eco-system that covers an area of about 4000sqkm with two non-contagious divisions in Oban and Okwangwo.
The Park is very rich in biodiversity and is one of the 25 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) acclaimed biodiversity hotspots in the world, IUCN declared important Bird Area (IBA), UNESCO declared Man and Biosphere Reserve, candidate for World Heritage Site and Trans- boundary Biosphere Reserve.
Olory informed that aside the contribution of the parks to the green economy, economic diversification and ecotourism, that is crucial in removing carbon emissions, which is a major component towards achieving Nigeria’s net zero emissions target by 2060.
Cross River national park borders two national parks in the Republic of Cameroon such as Takamanda and Korup national parks.
She disclosed that despite all the inherent potentials, the supposedly gate-way to climate change mitigation, is currently under threat from logging and mining activities.
The CP maintained that national parks are yet to be accorded the desired priorities and attention irrespective of its roles in combating climate change.
She challenged environmental journalists to take the lead and pay more attention to the national parks by showcasing their values, importance and challenges, with a view to addressing the daunting climate issues.
The Publisher and Editor-in-chief of Development Agenda Magazine, Mr Paddy Ezeala expressed dismay that the Cross River national park is currently threatened by logging and mining activities despite its inherent qualities..
BY CHIKA OKEKE, Abuja