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Stanbic IBTC launches major environmental project in Afi Mountain wildlife sanctuary


Stanbic IBTC Holdings, in partnership with One Tree Planted and the African Research Association managing Development in Nigeria (ARADIN), has launched an extensive environmental project titled “Enhancing Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods in Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary (AMWS).”

This three-year initiative aims to restore degraded watersheds and support local communities in Cross Rivers State, Nigeria.

The project, running from April 2024 to March 2027, commenced with a flag-off ceremony on Friday, June 21, 2024, in celebration of World Rainforest Day.

The event featured tree seedling plantings and included participants such as Stanbic IBTC staff, representatives from the Cross Rivers State Government, and officials from One Tree Planted, highlighting a shared commitment to environmental preservation and sustainable development.

Dr. Demola Sogunle, Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, commented, “Stanbic IBTC is committed to fostering sustainable development and environmental stewardship in Nigeria. Our tree-planting initiative demonstrates our dedication to enhancing biodiversity and supporting local communities.

By restoring the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary, we aim to make a lasting positive impact on both the environment and the people who depend on it.”

In the project’s first phase, from June to September 2024, 60,000 trees will be planted across 120 hectares. These trees will include indigenous species such as Mahogany, Achi, Opepe, African Nutmeg, Cedar, and Apa wood.

The project is expected to create approximately 420 jobs, with 84 positions already filled during the seedling preparation phase, 64% of which are held by women.

Additionally, the initiative will benefit 300 small-scale farmers through capacity building and environmental conservation efforts, positively impacting several communities in the Boki Local Government Area. The restoration efforts aim to enhance soil stabilization and reduce the risks of erosion and landslides.

Harry P. Lynch, President and CEO of One Tree Planted, stated, “Planting trees in degraded or deforested areas helps the environment by accelerating and ensuring the re-establishment of healthy forests. Through reforestation, the canopy is restored, ecosystems are revitalized, and biodiversity can thrive.”

Supported by the Cross Rivers State Forestry Commission, the project focuses on restoring degraded watersheds in the Badu and Mkperebong river corridors within AMWS. This initiative not only aims to enhance local biodiversity but also to improve the livelihoods of surrounding communities.

In the second and third years of the project, from April 2025 to March 2027, efforts will focus on on-site maintenance to ensure the long-term survival and growth of the planted seedlings. This comprehensive approach guarantees a sustainable impact, fostering a healthier environment and stronger community resilience.

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