Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Nigeria's superhighway threatens local communities, elephants, and gorillas

Date: October 28, 2016
Source: Wildlife Conservation Society


A proposed superhighway in Nigeria's Cross River State will displace 180 indigenous communities and threaten one of the world's great centers of biodiversity if completed, according to WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society).

In response, WCS is launching an international campaign to encourage decision makers in Nigeria to pursue alternative development options to either reroute the proposed highway away from the protected areas and community forests along the border area with Cameroon, or to rehabilitate existing highways. The campaign has generated 41,786 petitions since October 14.

The process of clearing a corridor for the project has already begun but has been temporarily halted as a result of protests from local communities, which helped to initiate an environmental impact assessment, but work on the highway could restart at any time.

The WCS campaign is teaming up with the Ekuri Initiative, an award-winning forest stewardship organization run by one of the many indigenous communities in the path of the proposed highway. The Ekuri Initiative has already delivered 253,000 signatures to the federal government asking for Nigerian President Buhari to protect their precious ancestral forests, and WCS is asking its followers to sign on with their support. You can sign the petition here: http://bit.ly/2dWeKxB.

"The proposed highway poses an enormous threat to the cultures and the wildlife of the entire region," said John Calvelli, WCS's Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Director for the 96 Elephants campaign and other public engagement efforts for conservation. "We're happy to lend our support to the Ekuri Initiative in the effort to save the local communities of Cross River State and the irreplaceable natural treasures also found there."
 

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