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TRADITIONAL RULERS IN KWANDE ENDORSE ESLF-IMPLEMENTED GEF-SGP PROJECT ON BIODIVERSITY AND TRADITIONAL MEDICINE PRACTICE.

Two key traditional rulers in Kwande Traditional Intermediate Area Council of Benue State Nigeria, the Tor Kwande, HRH Chief Ambrose Iortyer and the Ter Kwande, HRH Engr. Timothy Ahile have expressed support for the ongoing project to Address Biodiversity Loss and Promote Sustainable Traditional Medicinal Practices among the Ugbe Indigenous People of Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State, currently being implemented by Eunice Spring of Life Foundation (ESLF) with funding from Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP), an environment-based international donor organisation.

Giving his endorsement during an advocacy visit to his palace, Chief Iortyer, a First Class Chief whose domain covers Kwande and Ushongo Local Governement Areas, expressed gratitude to the ESLF team working on the GEF-SGP project and stated his commitment to the cause they were promoting in his domain.

On his part, the Second Class Chief, the Ter Kwande HRH Engr. Timothy Ahile said the project would be of immense benefit to the people of Ugbe in particular and the entire Kwande Local Government Area which he superintends over.

Earlier, Project Officer, Mr. Caleb Anber who explained that the project was aimed at protecting the traditional medicine practice by the people of Ugbe in Moon Council Ward of Kwande LGA, noted that it would put the community on the global map thereby giving greater commercial value and prestige to their herbal products for which they are known in the State.

Anber explained that the project would cover the entire process of planting and raising nurseries of identified medicinal plants such as “Madrid”, improve packaging of the herbal medicine, registration of their products with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Speaking earlier, ESLF’s Programme Coordinator, Dr. Comfort Abaa said the Foundation, driven by a the vision of a society without barriers to decent living, has intervened in Health, Education, Governance, and Economic Empowerment with a focus on Agriculture and Environment visible in her development and humanitarian programmes, projects and interventions. She noted that it was in furtherance of this mandate to conserve biodiversity loss and educate the people on climate change that ESLF sought to intimate the traditional stool about the Foundation’s activities and solicit the Traditional Council’s collaboration on the on-going project at Ugbe community.

Highpoint of the visit was the presentation of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials to the Tor Kwande and Ter Kwande containing information in English language such as “Natures’s Wealth for Health”, “Plants Help us to heal…Cultivate them, Harvest with care, Use them wisely; and in Tiv, “Ako, ikyon man ahu aikyon”, “ka gbaaondo u se er en twer u nan se mkpeiyol” and “U timin ako man ilon ka u timin mkpeiyol wase”, all stressing the need to preserve biodiversity and promote traditional medicine. The title of the GEF-SGP project is, “Addressing Biodiversity Loss and Promoting Sustainable Traditional Medicinal Practices Among the Ugbe Indigenous People of Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State, Nigeria”.

Emmanuel Enenche Umele

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