Only 4% Of Nigeria’s Forest Cover Remains, Warns NCF

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has issued an alarming warning: only 4% of Nigeria’s forest cover remains.

NCF Director-General, Dr. Joseph Onoja, said this on Saturday during a Cross River sensitisation programme on the dangers of unsustainable forestry practices. The programme’s theme was “The Crisis of Forest Loss and Threats to Rural Economy in Cross River.”

Represented by Alhaji Mohammed Boye, NCF’s Northern Zone Coordinator, Onoja stressed the urgent need to educate forest communities about sustainable forest interaction to prevent further deforestation. He announced plans to train farmers on sustainable practices in 2024, minimising environmental impact.

“The way people harvest resources from our forests, including trees, requires urgent action,” Onoja stressed. “While the forest provides livelihoods, it also plays a crucial role in protecting us from climate change.”

Despite past efforts by NCF and partners, Onoja acknowledged the disappointing lack of progress and reiterated the foundation’s commitment to education and changing attitudes.


Echoing this concern, Dr. George Oben-Etchi, Chairman of the Cross River Forestry Commission, highlighted the current administration’s commitment to afforestation. He noted that the last government-led tree planting initiative occurred in 2003. The state now aims to plant five million trees annually in collaboration with NGOs.


Oben-Etchi also mentioned the introduction of a “permitteeship” system to regulate logging and the employment of 300 rangers for forest protection.


CP Caroline Olori, Conservator of Cross River National Park, appealed to forest communities to take ownership and protect their forests. She urged NCF and the government to involve more youth, who she identified as major contributors to deforestation in these communities.


His Royal Highness, Obhoro Obio Arong Owai, Clan Head of Esai Clan, expressed concern about powerful illegal loggers operating in his community without permission. He pledged cooperation with the government to ensure only licensed loggers operate sustainably. He also requested timely payment of royalties due to forest communities.


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