NGOs raise alarm over incursion of mining activities in Cross River
Groups added that their activities in the park contravened the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act of 2007 which prohibits mining in the National Park.
Two Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Cross River have raised the alarm over incursion of miners into the National Park in the state.
This is contained in a signed statement by Ken Henshaw of We the People NGO and Martin Egot of Devcon, also an NGO, on Monday in Calabar.
They noted that the incursions were being carried out by two mining companies, adding that their activities in the the park contravened the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act of 2007 which prohibits mining in the National Park.
While faulting the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development for granting the two companies the mining rights, they called for the revocation of the mining lease from the companies.
According to them, there is no doubt that permitting mining activities in the National Park will seriously impact the ecosystem and destroy the essence of conservation, while opening the forest to other risks, including wildlife hunting and logging.
“Accordingly, we demand the immediate revocation of the mining lease granted the two companies. The step is essential to halt any ongoing mining activities and prevent further ecological degradation.
“We also want immediate vacation of the sites. In addition, security agencies should be mobilised to vacate the mining operatives from the mining sites.
“The Nigerian Minerals and Mining Regulations should be reviewed and strengthened to ensure that there were no ambiguities in granting licences within protected areas.
“Local communities surrounding Cross River National Park including Oban Forest, should be actively engaged in the conservation efforts.
“Their input and cooperation are vital for the effective protection of the park and its sustainable management.”
The NGOs also appealed to government to consider giving the ministry the authority to enhance the legal oversight measures. They said this would prevent potential conflicts among the ministries and uphold the sanctity of protected areas.
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