A University Don and Environmental Consultant, Dr. Isidore Akpan-Ebe, has made a case for the conservation of the critically endangered Sclater’s monkey species which is endemic to Ikot Uso Akpan Itam of Akwa Ibom State.
Dr. Akpan-Ebe, who is the Principal Consultant and Managing Director of RONEL Consult Limited (a foremost environmental outfit in the state), made the call during a Stakeholders’ meeting with the Elders, Women and Youth of Ikot Uso Akpan Itam.
The Don emphasized that this project is embarked upon by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) and thanked them for showing great interest in the conservation of the Sclater’s monkey species.
He disclosed that his Consult working in conjunction with the UNDP-GEF intends to use the Sclater’s Guenon known as “Adiaha Awa Itam” by the people of Ikot Uso Akpan Itam to place the community on the world tourism map.
Dr. Akpan-Ebe further disclosed that the Stakeholders’ wrap-up meeting signaled an end to the consultations with the people which began about November last year, when UNDP-GEF embarked on the first stage of the project which was a survey of “Owok Ikwat” – the habitat of the monkey species.
He said the second stage had been the impartation of knowledge on agro-forestry practices for greater productivity in their farm yields.
Dr. Akpan-Ebe used the occasion to invite the people to the One Day Promotional Event Conference and Public Seminar on the critically endangered Sclater’s Guenon holding on Tuesday the 26th of March, 2019 in Uyo.
The Versity Don, who is the Pioneer Commissioner for Environment in the State and a one-time Director of Forestry and Environmental Conservation in the state, said the aim of the Promotional Event Conference and Public Seminar is to let the rest of the world know about the presence of this critically endangered species in Akwa Ibom State in order to promote ecological tourism, commonly referred to as eco-tourism.
He said the event would also feature an exhibition showcasing the forest products and Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP) available in the locality.
Speaking at the meeting, the Hon. Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources, Dr. Iniobong Essien, who was represented by the Director of Forestry, AKS, Bishop Etido Okoneyo, thanked the community for their co-operation and appreciation of the project in their environment.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Council of Chiefs of Ikot Uso Akpan Itam, Chief Asuquo Simon Udofia, thanked the UNDP-GEF for its interest in the village, and pledged his people’s continued support for the project.