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06 August 2013

Lebialem Senator pledges to put environmental protection top on the agenda

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Senator Fontem Njifua

The Lebialem Senator Fon Fontem Njifua Lucas has promised to make environmental management of the richly endowed Lebialem top of his priority as he takes up duty at the Senate. Senator Fontem was speaking on July 6 , 2013 in Menji, the Chief town of Lebialem Division following a ceremony to welcome him home as Senator. According to this Leader, Fontem remains one of the richest Biodiversity hotspots in the Country with the presence of globally protected species like the Cross River Gorillas, Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees and Forest African Elephant « For the first time, I am going to hold a tete a tete meeting with the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife so that together we can seek ways to protect these animals ». Senator Njifua also said that given that Lebialem is an area whose topography is prone to landslides, he is going to use his position as a Law maker to influence many more tree planting projects in Lebialem in order to prevent erosion. He equally promised to bring all the spotted hunters in all of Lebialem Division to ask them to drop down their weapons or face the wrath of the law. He acknowledged that the biggest problem is that most of the poachers lack education, « we would do our best to tell them the importance of these animals that the State is asking them not to kill because most of those who hunt do so due to lack of education. This is our heritage and we must protect them! These animals if well protected will fetch us revenue in the form of tourism »

Questioned about the stand of the Senate as far as biodiversity conservation, Senator Fontem Njifua said the Senate is a new House and they are moving progressively. « A bill concerning that has not yet come up. When the bill comes up, we will look at the content of the bill and give our opinion because the environmental condition is very important and we will take that into serious consideration »

According to his Alternate, Nso Nicolas, "Lebialem has an environment where the ecosystem is collapsing. The sustainable management of the environment is completely part of our agenda and particularly me who comes from Wabane Sub-division, an area prone to landslides and other environmental hazards". "Geographically, Lebialem is located on the toe slopes of the Bamboutos. This means we are vulnerable to erosions and landslides so we would do our best to forward these problems to the government" Senator Nso went on.

Elites present at the ceremony had their own story to tell as far as the management and protection of the environment is concerned. According to a native of Magha- Wabane Sub Division Akewe Donaltus « our leaders have not given enough attention to our fragile environment. In Magha, where I live, we face the problem of landslides every now and then. Unfortunately, those representing us in parliament have not been able to bring projects that can solve this problem » Mr. Akewe regretted that since the 2003 landslides that claimed 23 lives, little has been done either to compensate the victims or to restore the degraded landscapes. « I hope that our new Senator will be able to make the difference » Mr. Akewe added. Another Elite from Mbindia Village who chose to be anonymous said Fontem is blessed with rich touristic potential in fauna and flora. He said these potentials if well harnessed could bring back revenue in the form of tourism. He urged the newly elected Senators to make the protection of the environment a priority.

By Regina Fonjia Leke