Activists have raised the alarm over the incursion of miners into the National Park in Cross River.
This is contained in a signed statement by Ken Henshaw of We the People and Martin Egot of Devcon on Monday.
They noted that two mining companies were carrying out the incursions, adding that their activities in 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, 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,” said the activists.
The statement added, “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 activists also appealed to the government to consider giving the ministry the authority to enhance the legal oversight measures, stressing that this would prevent potential conflicts among the ministries and uphold the sanctity of protected areas.