Helft den Ekuri, die Bulldozer aufzuhalten

Eine Urwaldpiste zieht sich durch den Regenwald im Cross River Nationalpark Die Ekuri haben schon viel erreicht - jetzt brauchen Sie Eure Unterschift für ihren Wald (© Rettet den Regenwald / Mathias Rittgerott)

Die Ekuri verteidigen erfolgreich ihr Land und ihren Wald. Sie organisieren den Widerstand gegen einen Straße, der den Regenwald am Cross River zerschneidet und Holzfällern dient. In den Wäldern leben vom Aussterben bedrohte Gorillas und Waldelefanten. Jetzt haben sie einen Etappensieg erziehlt – und kämpfen weiter. Bitte unterschreibt

Appell

An: Präsident Muhammadu Buhari, Umweltministerin J. Amina Mohammed, Gouverneur Ben Ayade

„Stoppen Sie den Bau der Cross River-Schnellstraße – und wählen Sie eine alternative Route. Damit der Regenwald des Ekuri-Volkes bewahrt bleibt.“

Ganzes Anschreiben lesen

Mahnend ragen die letzten Urwaldriesen in den Himmel. Arbeiter haben sie verschont, als sie ringsherum mit Bulldozern und Baggern auf Hunderten Metern kleinere Bäume und Sträucher zerstörten. Martins, Moses und Leo vom Volk der Ekuri laufen schweigend über die Rodung, wo noch im Frühjahr der Dschungel undurchdringlich war. „Wenn man den Wald in Ruhe lässt, erobert sich die Natur die Schneise zurück“, ist sich Martins von der Organisation Ekuri Initiative sicher.

Verantwortlich für die Regenwaldzerstörung ist Ben Ayade, der Gouverneur des Bundesstaates Cross River. Er steckt hinter dem Bau eines 260 Kilometer langen Straße, der von der Küstenstadt Calabar nach Norden in die Stadt Katsina Ala führen soll. Die Route führt durch den Wald der Ekuri, tangiert den Cross River-Nationalpark und gefährdet das Schutzgebiet am Afi Mountain, die Heimat bedrohter Gorillas.

Nigerianische Aktivisten vermuten, dass der Bau des Highways nur vorgeschoben ist. In Wirklichkeit bekämen Holzfäller Zugang zu den unberührten Wäldern. Ein Indiz dafür ist, dass der Gouverneur entlang der geplanten Straße einen 20 Kilometer breite Streifen Land beschlagnahmt und damit 185 Dörfer enteignet hat. „Das ist massiver Landraub. Man stiehlt unseren Wald“, klagen viele Einheimische.

Zwischenzeitlich hat der Gouverneur die Enteignung zwar zurückgenommen – Grund zur Entwarnung ist das jedoch nicht. Die Gefahr bleibt, dass Holzfäller in den Wald eindringen.

Manche fürchten, dass nach dem Kahlschlag Palmöl-Plantagen angelegt werden. Einige Firmen der Branche sind bereits im Cross River State aktiv. Der deutsche Hersteller Liebherr schließt nicht aus, Baumaschinen zu liefern. Wir fordern: Liebherr darf keine Maschinen liefern!

Die Ekuri und andere Waldbewohner sind entschlossen, das Projekt zu stoppen und bitten um unsere Unterstützung.

Hinter­gründe

Die Deutsche Welle hat eine Fotoserie über das Highwayprojekt veröffentlicht.

Ausführliche Infomationen, eine Karte und Fotos zu den Ekuri und ihrem bedrohten Lebensraum finden Sie in englischer Sprache auf der Website Save Ekuri Forest.

Zu den Hintergründen hat die Ekuri Initiative auch eine englischsprachige Pressemitteilung veröffentlicht – mit vielen offenen Fragen z.B. zur Finanzierung, zum Verlauf und technischen Details der geplanten Schnellstraße:

Press Release:

Cross River Superhighway destroys the forest and lives of the Ekuri people and thousands others

The unique Ekuri people and the precious Cross River rainforests

The people of Ekuri live in Cross River State, deep in the heart of one of Nigeria’s last surviving rainforests. Their forest is sandwiched by the Ukpon forest reserve to the north and Cross River National Park to the east and south and to the west by the Iko Esai community forest. Their rainforests are spectacular and are home to a number of rare and endangered wildlife species including Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee, some of the last forest elephants in West Africa and forest buffalo. However, all of this is about to disappear forever due to the construction of the Cross River State Superhighway which will destroy the ancestral lands and forests of the Ekuri people and thousands of others along the proposed 260 km route.

The villages of Old Ekuri and New Ekuri (popularly called the “Ekuri Community”) are located in Akamkpa LGA, in the buffer zone of Cross River National Park. These are two of only five villages in the whole world that speak the Lokoli language. These two villages between them jointly own 33,600 ha of community forest. This is probably the largest community owned forest in all of West Africa. For hundreds of years, the Ekuri people have relied completely on their ancestral lands and forests for everything. The forest provides the people with fruits, vegetables and a wide range of other valuable forest products. It also provides fertile farmland, their medicines and shapes their unique culture, language, and identity.

These forests are so important to the Ekuri people that in the early 1990s when they were approached by two logging companies offering to build them a road in exchange for logging their forest, they said “No”. Instead they asked the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature and the UK’s Overseas Development Administration (now the Department for International Development (DFID)), to help them set up a forest management organisation called the Ekuri Initiative. This community-run body has been instrumental in managing the Ekuri forests and also successfully brought development benefits to their villages including the construction of a 30 km road to the villages and the establishment of a health centre. This was so successful that in 2004, the Ekuri Community received the highly prestigious Equator Initiative Award from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for their outstanding contribution to biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction.

The forests of CRS are globally recognised for their international importance as one of the richest sites for biodiversity in Africa. The World Wide Fund for Nature and other NGOs have documented the fact that they harbour an enormous diversity of plant and animal species almost unmatched anywhere else in the world. In recognition of this, the UK government invested millions of pounds into the Cross River State Forestry Department in the 1990s. WWF also invested millions of pounds into the establishment of Cross River National Park over a period of 7 years. More recently, the UN established the UN-REDD programme in Nigeria with Cross River State as the first pilot state in which to establish structures to channel carbon credit funds from the world to reward the State for actions to protect these globally important forests. It is hoped to expand this programme across Nigeria.

But now this forest and the entire Ekuri way of life, is threatened with destruction.

Outcry after highway route announced but launched by President Buhari eventually

Last year, the newly elected Governor of Cross River State, Senator Ben Ayade announced the construction of a 260 km superhighway to go from a planned deep sea port in Esighi in Bakassi Local Government Area northwards via Obudu to Katsina-ala in Benue State. The superhighway was to be toll road to be built at the cost of US$3.5 billion and was to be constructed by a company called Broad Spectrum Industrial Services Limited (BSIS) who are based either in Israel, Germany or Port Harcourt depending on various newspaper articles.

When a map was released by the state government showing the proposed route of the superhighway, it showed it passing through the mountainous Oban Division of Cross River National Park. Besides the fact that the proposed route was going to cause untold damage to the globally important park, it also demonstrated that the route had been selected without looking at a contour map, let alone having an engineering survey!

This led to an outcry from the National Park authorities, the Federal Ministry of Environment and many Nigerian and international NGOs. The NGO community was so outraged by the threat of the superhighway to the National Park and to the forest communities that they got together to write a letter to the Governor. The letter dated 20th October 2015, was written and signed by the Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FoEN), Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Birdlife International, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Heinrich Boell Foundation and was copied to President Buhari and the Federal Minister of Environment. These letters received no reply.

Nevertheless as a result of the outcry from various quarters, the Governor then directed that the road should pass around the park. When the highway was first announced, the Governor had made it clear that he wanted the President to flag off the construction. Due to the outcry, President Buhari initially decided not to open the superhighway. However, once the road was diverted around the Park, this seems to have allayed his fears and he eventually visited Cross River State to launch the superhighway on the 20th October 2015.

The route was still far from ideal, so questions started to be asked

While the route around the National Park was a better outcome than the initial route, it was clear that the road still passed too close to its boundary and right through the Ekuri forests and protected forest reserves. It is well known that any road can open up a trail of destruction in the form of logging, hunting and farming and soon the forest within at least 5km of any road is totally destroyed. So it was clear that the road, even with the new route, would still cause huge damage and destruction to the National Park and the forest communities it passed through including the 33,600 ha Ekuri forest.

At this point, people in Cross River State began to ask questions about the superhighway:

What kind of company is Broad Spectrum Industries Limited? Many efforts have been made to investigate the background of the Company to find out what its track record was in highway and infrastructure construction. However, its website indicates that the Company, based in Port Harcourt, is relatively new and has no experience in road or port construction. How could such a huge project of this nature be handled by a company that no one has heard of before? Who is on the Board of the Company, what are its credentials and what was really its interest in the project?

Questions around the funding and the economics of the project: It was alleged in the press at the time, that BSIS was going to invest 700 billion Naira (US$3.5 billion) in the deep sea port and superhighway. However, it is unclear where this staggering sum of money is meant to be coming from. It was rumoured that the funds were potentially coming from Germany or the UK or Israel but all efforts to find out more about the alleged funding for the superhighway construction project have proved futile. There are also reports of contributions from Heritage, Skye and Zenith banks. Do the funds for the construction of the highway actually exist? What kind of company would spend US$3.5 Billion on the construction of a port/superhighway if the port will only pay back US$30 million a year? This would thus take over 100 years to pay back and that's not including a discount rate! What kind of company would invest such large sums of money with such bad returns? There has been no transparency on this aspect of the Project.

Questions about the engineering feasibility of the Project: It is notable that there do not seem to have been any engineering studies carried out to inform the design of the Project. If there have been engineering studies, they have also been kept secret. The communities along the proposed route all attest that there have been no engineers surveying on the ground. Without such surveys how can one even determine the cost of the superhighway? How would one know, for example, how many substantial bridges are required or how many millions of tons of rock and soil have to be moved to pass through the hilly terrain? However, it is clear from contour maps that the terrain of the proposed route passes though some of the hilliest terrain in the entire country. This is slightly better than the mountainous route that was originally proposed through the heart of the National Park but such lack of basic research calls into questions the seriousness of the actual plan to build such a highway. How can a scheme of this size not be based on any field-based engineering surveys?

Why has there been no Environmental Impact Assessment or public consultation on the route? The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Act of 1992 specifies that any construction project that is likely to have a significant impact on the environment or on people MUST have an EIA carried out and must receive an environmental permit from the Federal Ministry of Environment (FMEnv) BEFORE forest clearance works of any sort take place. Such an EIA must involve documented consultation meetings with a wide range of affected stakeholders before the final project design is concluded and approved. So, given the huge impact this Project will have on one of Nigeria’s last surviving rainforests and the impact on the lives of thousands of people, how can such a scheme go ahead without an EIA which is made publicly available? If an EIA has been carried out who was consulted? Certainly none of the many communities or environmental NGOs have been consulted about the route. Reports from the villages say the superhighway construction has been awarded to several local contractors who are able to hire bulldozers. The local contractors have been apportioned 10 km each to bulldoze. How can clearance of the forests for the route commence be allowed without an EIA permit from the Federal Government?

Why not upgrade the existing Calabar-Ikom-Obudu highway? The existing Federal Highway from Calabar through Ikom to Obudu already serves all the purposes that the government wants the super highway to achieve. It links Calabar with Benue State and provides the route for trade. Communities and trade routes already exist around this road, whilst the super highway would necessitate new feeder roads, which would cut more into the rain forest. Furthermore this would be much less costly and will do far less damage to the State’s forests and communities.

The announcement in the newspapers of the 20km revocation of land rights

For a number of months after President Buhari launched the superhighway, everything went quiet and it was suspected that the highway might no longer happen. Then on 22nd January in 'The Weekend Chronicle', the State Government announced that a 20km setback of land would be compulsorily acquired by the Government “in the over-riding public interest” along the entire 260 km Right of Way from Bakassi to Katsina-ala (see map)!

As one can imagine, the forest communities were absolutely horrified to read this. The Ekuri people immediately knew that the superhighway would rip through the heart of their forest, opening it up to farming, logging and hunting on a massive scale. It was shocking that, in this unprecedented massive land grab, the Governor has seized all the ancestral land of thousands of forest dependent villagers, for 10 km either side of the 260 km superhighway. This now means that all the forest communities along the superhighway route including the Old and New Ekuri are effectively landless and homeless!

A new Campaign has now kicked off to stop the superhighway construction

On the 7th February 2016, the Ekuri people wrote to the Governor of Cross River State, copying President Buhari and the Federal Minister for Environment, demanding that the construction of the superhighway be stopped until a new route could be found and they made it clear they would protect their forests through determined non-violent protests. The letter was copied to a wide range of organisations including the UN, British Government, Norwegian Government, and many national and international NGOs. This letter was successfully delivered but, to date, there has been no reply from the Governor or Federal Government. This letter was followed by another to the Governor this time written by the neighbouring village of Okokori also copied to same recipients but again there has been no reply from the government.

But it is worrying to report that the forest destruction has already started

In spite of all the letter-writing and campaigns, it is terrible to report that at this very moment, the bulldozers are heading to Ekuri to start ripping up the forests. The Ekuri community have already told to two bulldozers to leave until the government responds to their letter, but who knows how long they can hold off the destruction? Technically, according to the law, their land has been seized by Government and they are already homeless. We have just heard that that two the bulldozers that left Ekuri are now working in Etara/Eyeying, neighbouring communities of Ekuri, destroying farms and forest. There women and children are lamenting over their lost farms but the bulldozers carry on. Apparently the two bulldozers are working in different directions, one towards Ekuri and the other towards Okuni. The people are absolutely helpless. Why hasn’t the Federal Government stepped in to stop this destruction?

With the international campaign, governments around the world have started asking questions. This comes at a bad time for Nigeria struggling with the fall in oil prices and the country needs all the international financial support it can get. It also makes the government look bad at a time when Nigeria is supposed to be stamping out corruption. Who has ever heard of a road project of this scale, passing through some of the most sensitive rainforests on the planet, threatening the lives of thousands without an EIA permit? How can this be allowed to happen in our so-called 'democratic' Nigeria?

The Ekuri people and concerned stakeholders are calling on the Federal Government to:

  • Suspend immediately all forest logging and clearance already commenced without an EIA permit from the Federal Ministry of Environment of Nigeria and rescind the related revocation of community land along the superhighway Right of Way.
  • Examine all alternative routes for the so-called “super-highway” that avoids destruction of the Ekuri community forests and other forested parts of Cross River State.
  • Carry out a thoroughly participatory and transparent review of the ecological, socio-cultural, economic, financial and reputational impacts of the so-called “super-highway” before it precipitates a man-made disaster for Cross River State and Nigeria.

An­schreiben

An: Präsident Muhammadu Buhari, Umweltministerin J. Amina Mohammed, Gouverneur Ben Ayade

Sehr geehrter Präsident Muhammadu Buhari,
sehr geehrte Umweltministerin J. Amina Mohammed,
sehr geehrter Gouverneur Ben Ayade,

die Regierung des Cross River State plant eine 260 Kilometer lange Schnellstraße durch die artenreichsten Regenwaldgebiete Ihres Landes. Die Straße würde nicht nur den Lebensraum der indigenen Ekuri und Tausender weiterer Waldbewohner vernichten, sondern auch die Heimat von Schimpansen und einiger der letzten Waldelefanten Westafrikas.

In Etara, der Nachbargemeinde von Ekuri, haben die Bulldozer mit der Wald- und Landzerstörung bereits begonnen – ohne die erforderliche Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfung, die vom Umweltministerium vorgeschrieben ist, und ohne dessen Arbeitserlaubnis.

Bitte lassen Sie die bereits begonnenen Bauarbeiten sofort beenden und entscheiden Sie sich für eine andere Route für die Straße – um die kostbaren Regenwälder und die Lebensgrundlage ihrer Bewohner zu bewahren.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

News und Updates

Erfolg | 17.02.2017

Die Ekuri retten 5.200 Quadratkilometer Regenwald!

Indigene Ekuri demonstrieren gegen einen Highway

Erfolgreicher Widerstand der Ekuri: Der Gouverneur des nigerianischen Bundesstaates Cross River gibt große Regenwaldflächen an die Bevölkerung zurück, die er für den Bau einer Straße und Holzeinschlag beschlagnahmt hatte. 5.200 Quadratkilometer vor den Holzfällern gerettet.

weiter

News | 23.11.2016

Ekuri: Wer den Wald rettet, schützt das Klima

Waldschutz ist Klimaschutz – mit dieser Botschaft wirbt der Ekuri Martins Egot für den Erhalt des Regenwaldes am Cross River. Der Nigerianer hat während der UN-Klimakonferenz vor einem Highwayprojekt gewarnt, das den Cross River Nationalpark zerschneiden soll.

weiter

Erfolg | 28.09.2016

Ekuri verstärken den Kampf um ihren Wald

Die Ekuri, die in Nigeria ihren Wald bewahren wollen, erregen immer mehr Aufmerksamkeit mit ihrem Protest. In der Hauptstadt Abuja haben sie zwei Petitionen mit 275.000 Unterschriften übergeben.

weiter

News | 01.09.2016

Nigeria: Umweltstudie ignoriert Nationalpark

Was für ein Unsinn! Der Gouverneur des Cross River State legt eine Umwelt-Studie zum geplanten Highway vor – und die ignoriert Nigerias wichtigsten Regenwald-Nationalpark. Gegen diese ungeheuerliche Studie klagen Umweltschützer.

weiter

News | 22.08.2016

Regenwaldkämpfer Odey mit Tod bedroht - Protestieren Sie!

Der nigerianische Umweltschützer Odey Oyama fürchtet um sein Leben. Weil er sich mit  Plantagenkonzernen anlegt und ein Highway-Projekt bekämpft, werde er mit dem Tode bedroht. Bitte protestieren Sie!

weiter

News | 28.07.2016

Ekuri-Wald: Umweltschützer trotzen der Polizei

Nigerias Polizei versucht vergeblich, Umweltschützer einzuschüchtern. „Ich bin entschlossener als zuvor", sagt Odigha nach seiner Freilassung. Der Anführer des Widerstandes gegen den Superhighway war festgenommen und stundenlang verhört worden.

weiter

News | 26.07.2016

Diese Giganten müssen wir schützen!

Staunend blicke ich am Stamm der Urwaldriesen empor. Sie stehen fest auf mächtigen Brettwurzeln, erst viele Meter über dem Boden öffnen die Giganten ihre Kronen. Majestätische Geschöpfe sind sie. Ich bin nach Nigeria gereist, um die indigenen Ekuri zu unterstützen, deren Wald für einen Highway zerstört werden soll. Wir müssen schnell etwas tun, um die Bäume zu retten.

weiter

News | 23.06.2016

Ekuri planen Demo gegen Superhighway

Der Protest gegen den geplanten Highway durch die Regenwälder am Cross River erreicht Nigerias Hauptstadt. 30 Ekuri und andere betroffene Dorfbewohner bereiten eine Reise nach Abuja vor, um weit über 200.000 Unterschriften gegen das Projekt an den Präsident Muhammadu Buhari zu übergeben.

weiter

Presse-Echo | 21.06.2016

Superhighway und Palmöl in Nigeria

Das "Radio Dreyeckland" hat sich mit dem geplanten Superhighway in Nigeria und mit Palmölplantagen des Konzerns Wilmar befasst. In einem ausführlichen Interview hat Rettet den Regenwald geschildert, wie die Menschen vor Ort um ihre bedrohten Wälder kämpfen.

weiter

News | 19.05.2016

Mit dem Radio den Widerstand ausweiten

Der Widerstand gegen den Bau eines Highways durch Nigerias Regenwälder wächst. Umweltschützer informieren immer mehr Dörfer, dass der Wald in Gefahr ist. Jetzt planen sie Beiträge im Radio, um auch die Bewohner entlegener Siedlungen zu erreichen. Darüber hinaus organisieren die Aktivisten Treffen von Ortsvorstehern.

weiter

News | 18.03.2016

An Liebherr: Keine Maschinen für Raubbau liefern!

Die deutsche Firma Liebherr erwägt, sich am Bau des „Superhighways“ in Nigeria zu beteiligen, für den der Wald der indigenen Ekuri zerstört wird. Man „evaluiere“ das Projekt, sagte ein Firmensprecher. Wir fordern: Liebherr soll keine Maschinen liefern.

weiter

News | 15.03.2016

Vorwurf: deutsche Firmen verdienen am Raubbau

An der drohenden Vernichtung von Regenwald in Nigerias Cross River State wären möglicherweise zwei Firmen aus Deutschland beteiligt. Durch das Straßenbauprojekt würden die indigenen Ekuri ihre Heimat verlieren. Die Vorwürfe richten sich gegen den Baumaschinen-Hersteller Liebherr und das Bauunternehmen Julius Berger.

weiter
Petition unterschreiben

Helfen Sie, das Etappenziel von 300.000 Unterstützern zu erreichen:

266.306

Wir verwenden Ihre Daten ausschließlich für unsere Kampagnen. Eine Weitergabe an Dritte findet nicht statt. Wir werden Sie über weitere Aktionen informieren.

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