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Cross River gorillas will boost local tourism if protected, says Wild Africa Fund



Wild Africa Fund, an environmental NGO, says that Cross River gorillas can boost local tourism if there are deliberate policies to protect them.

The fund urges the public to protect Nigeria’s unique Cross River gorillas by supporting ongoing efforts to safeguard their populations and habitat as well as reducing demand for commercial bush meat that threatens them.

This is contained in a statement signed by Festus Iyorah, Nigeria Representative of the fund and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos.

According to him, the Cross River gorillas live in the mountainous region between Nigeria and Cameroon and it’s Africa’s most endangered ape species.

He said that available records showed that fewer than 300 individuals of these gorillas remained in the wild, with 100 of them living in Nigeria’s Cross River State and the rest in Cameroon.


He said that the Gorillas were found in Nigeria in the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary, the Mbe Mountains, and the Okwangwo division of the Cross River National Park.

He explained that the Cross River gorilla, one of Nigeria’s most iconic and cherished wildlife species, faced numerous threats, including hunting and habitat loss due to agricultural expansion, commercial logging and the encroachment of human settlements into its habitat.

Iyorah noted that while the hunting of gorillas had reduced over the last few years, wire snares set for other animals in the bush meat trade could also entrap gorillas, leading to injuries and, in some cases, death.

“We can’t afford to lose even one of our 100 Cross River Gorillas at this critical stage. Let us all come together to protect the Cross River Gorilla and ensure that these remarkable species continue to thrive in our country for generations to come,” Iyorah said.

The Nigeria representative said that the country had taken significant steps to address those challenges and protect the Cross River Gorilla.


He said that the National Park Service and Cross River State Government, in collaboration with local and international conservation organisations, had been working to safeguard the gorilla’s habitat, enforce anti-poaching laws, and promote community-based conservation initiatives.

He said that efforts were crucial, not only for the survival of the Cross River gorillas but also for the preservation of our rich biodiversity and the sustainable development of our communities.

He listed the benefits of protecting the gorillas.

” Gorilla based tourism is an invaluable asset to some African countries like Rwanda and Uganda, offering a win-win scenario for both conservation and economic development.

“Tourists from around the globe are drawn to the magic of gorilla encounters, making Gorilla-based tourism a source of foreign currency and funding for community development projects such as schools and healthcare centres.


“Gorilla trekking accounted for 14 per cent of the 498 million dollars Rwanda earned from tourism in 2018, when the government doubled the cost of Gorilla-trekking permits to 1,500 dollars per person.

” In 2018–19, tourism brought in $1.6 billion for Uganda, contributing 7.7 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employing at least 667,000 people,” Iyorah said.

Iyorah quoted the CEO of wild Africa Fund, Peter Knights, as saying
“If wildlife can be successfully protected in Nigeria it can become a major driver of increased tourism and jobs.

Iyorah said that Wild Africa Fund had launched a month-long public awareness campaign, using radio, TV, newspapers, billboards, and social media to inform people about the threats facing the Cross River gorillas and to amplify laws and anti-poaching measures protecting them.

He added that the campaign would feature messages from top celebrity ambassadors, including Davido, Laycon, Emanuella, and Alex Iwobi, and short documentaries highlighting ongoing efforts to protect gorillas and their habitat.



President Tinubu Seeks Senate Approval For Fresh $8.6billion, €100million Loans



The president made the request through a letter to the Senate, read during the plenary by the Senate President, GodsWill Akpabio, on Tuesday, noting that the fund was to execute critical projects in different sectors.

The President Bola Tinubu-led administration has sought the approval of the Nigerian Senate for $8.6billion and €100million borrowing plan.

The president made the request through a letter to the Senate, read during the plenary by the Senate President, GodsWill Akpabio, on Tuesday, noting that the fund was to execute critical projects in different sectors.

The request was said to be part of the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan approved by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, according to the letter.

Tinubu explained that the projects to be funded with the loan cuts across different sectors of the economy, and were selected based on economic evaluation and the expected contribution to the country’s development.


The letter reads in part;, “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan for consideration and early approval of the National Assembly to ensure prompt implementation of the projects.

“The Senate may wish to note that the past administration approved a 2022-2024 borrowing plan by the federal executive council (FEC) held on May 15, 2023.

“The project cuts across all sectors, with specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management reforms.

“Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of $8,699,168,559 and €100 million.

“I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on economic evaluations as well as the expected contribution to the social economic development of the country, including employment generation, and skills acquisition.


“Given the nature of these facilities, and the need to return the country to normalcy it has become necessary for the Senate to consider and approve the 2022- 2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government deliver its responsibility to Nigerians.”

In August, the National Assembly approved President Tinubu’s request for over $800 million loan to finance the National Social Safety Network Programme.

The National Assembly had also approved the 2022 Supplementary Appropriations Act of N819 million “for the provision of Palliatives to Nigerians to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal”.

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5,000 Federal Civil Servants May Not Get November, December Salaries



There is anxiety among federal civil servants as about 5,000 of them may not get November and December salaries.

The National President of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Dr Tommy Okon, who disclosed this in Abuja, urged the Federal Government to resolve the issues swiftly.

He explained that out of the 17,000 who were delisted from the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) in October 2023 are on course to receive their salaries, only those who had earlier completed their verification exercise but were mistakenly delisted have had their salaries restored.

According to him, 5,000 civil servants still have discrepancies on their date of first appointment and date of birth. A total of 2,772 have been verified and forwarded to IPPIS for payment because there were no issues.”

While advising affected civil servants to constantly check the Head of Service of the Federation website for regular updates so as not to be caught unawares, he hinted that six teams are working to ensure that the exercise is completed on time.


“It is advisable for a public servant to develop the habit of checking the HOS Website for regular updates. We have confirmed that the salary for November 2023 is concluded. Therefore, those affected will not get their salaries for November,” Okon stated.

However, he assured that some of the affected workers might likely get their salaries for December, including the arrears from September.

Okon appealed to the Federal Government through the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to expedite action to ensure that December salaries are not delayed while urging members of the union to exercise patience as everything is being done within the ambit of the laws to ensure that the issues are resolved expeditiously.

On the recent promotions examination for Directors aspiring to the office of the Permanent Secretaries, Dr Okon said such examinations will increase the efficiency of civil service being the engine room of government policies.

Indeed, the Public Service Rule (PSR) states that the selection shall be through a competitive examination process including but not limited to written examination, test of ICT proficiency and oral interview and Resource persons from the Civil/Public Service and Private institutions may be involved in the selection process.


Okon added: “It is expected that when you rise in your career as a director, you have gotten to the pinnacle of your career. Hence, the position of Permanent Secretary is another kettle of fish, which requires greater responsibility and a broader scope of competence. We are yet to understand how government projects and activities are to be driven effectively without having in place the best hands and brains.”

He lamented that over time, the Civil Service has suffered exponential decadence of its pool of highly skilled and knowledgeable officers, saying, “We cannot continue to pay lip service to the need to scale the quality of the civil servants especially those at the senior level who are expected to demonstrate impeccable character and capability to drive government projects and programmes.

“A situation where only 20 candidates out of 85 demonstrated the requisite knowledge and skill at the written examination and 18 candidates from that number made it to the final stage of the recently concluded selection exercise for the appointment of permanent secretaries leaves little to be imagined about the state of the quality of officers in the Civil Service.”

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