The Organised Labour in Cross River on Thursday sought the support and partnership of traditional rulers in its ongoing campaign against illegal logging in the state.
The Chairman, Joint Negotiating Council in the state, Mr Godwin Otei, told youths and women in Efraya Community, Etung Local Government Area, that their cooperation was needed in the fight against the illegal logging.
Otei said that if the act was not controlled and stopped, the state might lose all its forests in the nearest future.
He told them that the activities of illegal loggers were causing more harm to the forest reserve, flora, fauna and the climate, adding that all hands must be on deck to avoid desertification.
According to him, the organised labour was no longer comfortable sighting trucks of woods leaving the state everyday for other states, hence the need to embark on the advocacy.
The leader of the group urged members of the community to rise and defend their forest reserves by forming vigilante groups to ensure that no one was allowed to illegally fall any tree in the area again.
“We have embarked on this advocacy campaign because we care about the future of our state and the environment.
“The indiscriminate felling of trees for selfish benefit by some groups of persons across the state, is condemnable.
“We have come here to seek the support of traditional leaders, youths and women to ensure that we stop this trend before we lose our forest reserves to illegal loggers.
“Cross River is being treasured across the world for its mass forest reserves; we should not allow the greed of a few individuals to kill our forests,” he said.
Also speaking, a former Chairman of Trade Union Congress in the state, Mr Clarkson Otu, urged members of the community to resist all attempts by those who came to the area to degrade their forest.
Otu lamented that there had been an uncontrollable act of tree felling in the state, adding that the time to stop the illegality was now.
He added that the occupation of residents in the state was farming and not logging, hence the need for them to support the campaign.
Responding, the Clan Head of Efraya Community, Mr Richard Attah, assured the group of their partnership and commitment towards protecting the forests.
Attah said the community on its part had been doing a lot to prevent the illegal loggers from degrading the forests.
He expressed confidence that the involvement of the organised labour would strengthened them in the fight against illegal logging in the community.
The group also visited the chiefs, youth leader and women in Nsofang Community, also in the local government area to sensitise them on the need to protect the forests from illegal loggers.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in spite of the ban on logging by the state government, some individuals were still involved in the illegal act across the state. (NAN)