By Frank Ulom
The European Union, EU Ambassador to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Ms Samuela Isopi, said the union has committed five million euros (€5m) to conserve wildlife and forestry in Cross River State.
Isopi stated this on Friday while being hosted by the Governor of Cross River State, Sen. Bassey Otu in Calabar.
She noted that the visit is unique, being the first in over 10 years, stressing that the delegation is in the State as part of activities supporting wildlife conservation in the state and commissioning of new infrastructures and interventions valued at €1.5m.
Ambassasor Isopi stated that the EU is proud to partner in the conservation of wildlife in Cross River and is willing to commit an additional €3.5m to prevent illegal logging, poaching and support communities even outside gaming reserves.
The envoy explained that the initiative is geared towards sensitising local communities on the protection of wildlife, promoting climate sustainability and biodiversity.
On his part, Governor Otu described the visit of the EU delegation as historic, given that it is the first time in over a decade an EU delegation will be visiting the state. He commended the European Union for its collaboration and support, especially in the areas of biodiversity and climate sustainability.
He said the state and the EU have a shared vision in terms of green economy, stressing that the state offers a conducive environment for sustainable economic investment.
The Governor assured his guest of improved security situation, highlighting the state’s potential in agriculture, mining, biodiversity and education, while stressing his administration’s commitment to carbon reduction and a climate-friendly state with the floating of a Green Bond in Luxembourg in a few weeks.
“This visit is historic by the fact that this is the first high-level EU delegation to the state in the past 10 years.
“While I commend your being here, let me assure you that the state is ready for partnership and investment such as that the EU is bringing.
“We share a common vision in supporting and preserving the rich biodiversity that our state is known for as well as committed to climate change initiatives.
“To demonstrate our seriousness here, we will be floating a Green Bond in Luxembourg in a few weeks. I urge you to take the message back that Cross River State is building a sustainable sub-national, given our strategic location around the Gulf of Guinea.
“Our security is progressively improving and your businesses and investors will find a lot of potential in agriculture, mining, biodiversity and education.
“However, the migrant crisis in European borders offers an opportunity for the EU to invest in sub-nationals such as ours to stem the tide of migrants seeking greener pasture,” the Governor stated.