Friday, 14 February 2020

Odey holds talks with Timber dealers, as declaration commences

Odey Oyama addressing members of Timber Dealers Association in Calabar 
Odey Oyama, Chairman, ATF
Ukorebi Esien | 13th February 2020 

The Chairman Cross River State Anti- Deforestation Taskforce, Mr. Oyama Odey, yesterday held a stakeholders'  meeting with members of Timber Dealers Association in Cross River State with the view of collaborating with them in the fight against illegal logging. 

According to Oyama, the meeting was necessary to facilitate a harmonious working relationship between members of the Taskforce and the dealers who are the primary stakeholders in the forestry business. Speaking with newsmen shortly after the stakeholders meeting, Oyama informed that the Interactive session was a huge success as a lot of bridges have been mended and the dealers are now willing to corporate with government and pay the necessary fees as well as the royalties to communities. 

"I think I am happy about the outcome of the meeting, to the extent that all of them are willing to do the right thing. They have not been given an opportunity to dialogue with government. Since the establishment of task-force, I think this is the first time, they've had a chance  to sit with the task-force and discuss the problem we are all facing. " He informed. 

"They are willing to ensure that they pay government's revenue, they are prepared to ensure they pay communities their royalties, They are prepared to ensure that their logs are being hammered
There are willing to declare what they have on ground for government to come and compute the payment for them to pay. It now behooves on government to do the needful." He noted. 

On their part, the Timber Dealers expressed satisfaction over the appointment of Odey Oyama stating that his appointment signals the governor's willingness to sanitize the system. They expressed confidence in Oyama's appointment whom they say his integrity and doggedness in the past is outstanding. 

The Timber dealers informed TDN that they now have a sense of belonging, beign carried along in the declaration processes, even as they are ready to support government and ensure illegal logging is drastically reduced or put to an end, stating that the activities of illegal loggers have thrown many of them out of business. 

High point of the meeting was a resolution to commence declarations. According to Oyama, declaration is the stage in the logging business where loggers declare how many woods they have and in which of the forest the logs are situated. Then government goes for verification, computes payment and the loggers will now pay into government cuffers and be issued clearance to evacuate the woods. 

Oyama also informed that, he doesn't expect his Taskforce to last forever as originally, the concept of a Taskforce was only to step in, put things straight and step aside for the professionals to continue. He added that though it was the inadequacy of the professionals that gave room for task-force to be set up, but task-force can't replace the professionals. He hopes to see a day when the job of forestry will be fully restored to the professionals. 

"It is the inadequacy of government officials in handling forestry issues that must have led to the setting up of task-force. I am not of the oppion that the Taskforce remain forever. for me Taskforce only comes in to heal the wounds where they have seen there's a wound." He noted. 

"Why did government at some point allow taksforce to come? Why didn't they allow it for the Professionals to go on? Why did government prefer to work with task-force? These are questions we should not be discussing here. There must be somthing wrong somewhere that's why task-force came about. But I am not in the opinion that Taskforce should last forever, No! Task-force should come and heal the wounds where they have seen that there's a wound. Heal it and go back. 

"And allow the professionals to continue the trade, because the forestry commission is the only equipped body, professionally trained to handle forestry management issues and not the Taskforce, I believe that the Taskforce is established for a particular purpose. 
So it important that government our forestry commission comes back to what it used to be." Oyama concluded.