Friday, 17 June 2016

Celebrating World Environment Day with Drills and Chimps at Afi Mountains.

The booming illegal trade in wildlife products is eroding Earth’s precious biodiversity, robbing us of our natural heritage and driving whole species to the brink of extinction. The killing and smuggling is also undermining economies and ecoystems, fuelling organized crime, and feeding corruption and insecurity across the globe. (UNEP -

"Go wild for life" is the theme of the World Environment Day (WED) 2016 and we have been called to promote wild life conservation and take action against illegal trade of wild animal parts.
SOFER Initiative joined the world in this celebration by partnering with Pandrillus (Drill Ranch) to promote the Great Afi Mountains in Cross Rivers State, Nigeria and their almost 30 years of dedication to breeding and rehabilitation of over 500 Drill monkeys and Chimpanzees in this over 5 sq km of untampered natural rain forest.
Volunteers from SOFER Initiative took a 7 hours road trip from Calabar to the Afi Mountains to work with the ranch keepers to help save the lives of these wild primates.
The journey from beautiful Calabar through the quarries of Akankpa, the green hills of Biase and the meandering roads of Ekom was nothing short of awesome for the enthusiastic volunteers. Buanchor in Boki local government area of Cross River State plays host to the Pandrillus (Drill ranch) team with Peter and Liza as the American founders.
4 days of physical labour, learning about the rain forest and wildlife, listening to amazing jungle stories, discovering wild medicinal plants, feeding primates and living in the most incredible cabins had volunteers wanting an extension of their stay at Afi.
We met Amina, a sweet Chimpanzee that was held captive and recovered from Norther Nigeria. She was proper and the politest of all the Chimps, that would turn her back to be groomed (caressed) by visitors when offered something to eat. We all connected with her and everyone of us would give her extra food because she made caring for the primates feel like you were with another human. She is a special Chimp but she is blind and under rehabilitation. She is just one case among tens of these monkeys suffering from man seeking to dominate and take everything including their homes.
Pandrillus is a not-for-profit that does not get any form of government funding yet they protect and conserve the Nigerian heritage even as non-nationals. Support, visit, donate or volunteer today.
Go to and commit to helping them save these awesome creatures.
 From right to left: Volunteers (Emmanuel Sofa, Nathaniel Joshua, Michelle Essien, TShawn Umo, Debby Jireh and Charles Etim) at the Group 6 Drill Monkey enclosure.
 Michelle connecting with a chimp (Bella). Bella was donated from South Africa and can start a car.
 Old model Range Rover used for transportation of animal food and staff to the village (Buanchor)
Tired but always smiling SOFER Volunteers after feeding the Chimps.
Depulpping (washing off) of the pulp of irvin gaboneses (ogbono) used to grow more trees to produce monkey mangos.
Digging a 3 by 3 pit for collection of non-recyclable waste.
Food delight with Debby and Michelle (MTN rice)

After a hard days job, the crew settle down for a meal at the camp.

TShawn strike a pose at the 25 meters high, 400 meters long and 10 platform canopy walkway that was inaugurated by Prince Charles of England.

The simplest and most comfortable cabin with a 360 view around the forest.

Top Chef Michelle slicing for dinner.

Debby washing off the sweat with natural spring water after a trip to the canopy walkway.

Final photo with staff cook Martha serving as our Drill Ranch board.

Presentation of our Go Wild For Life T-Shirt to Ellie the American Volunteer and Ranch manager
Hanging out at Cabin 6.

SOFER and Pandrillus together.



Thursday, 7 April 2016


Its a pretty rewarding experience to see a conceived idea come into fruition when on a totally different journey. This was the case for Emmanuel Sofa (Coordinator - SOFER Initiative) who in a pursuit of his career as an Air Traffic Controller decided to indulge in a recycle project during his Area Control License course at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria. He subjected himself to collecting bottle caps from his course mates, the school cafeteria and sometimes out of trash bins to carry out the task. Through a span of 3 months during his course, he gathered enough used plastic bottle caps to execute project KEEP NCAT CLEAN, GREEN & SERENE. Hammering tiny nails into every bottle cap used to form these words, Emmanuel alongside a fellow course mate (Kalu Ogbonna), a serving corp member at the college (Amina Fagbayi) and a local staff (Ibrahim Garba) put together this project in 2 days. The recycle slogan was presented to the Deputy Rector of NCAT (Capt. O. J. Achimugu) in company of the Head Of Air Traffic Services and Communication School, NCAT (Mr Wayas Imaligue). They were cheered to finish by the very outstanding course members of Area Control Course (ACC34) and appreciated by the staff members of the great college.  
Emmanuel Sofa presenting project KEEP NCAT CLEAN, GREEN & SERENE to Capt. O.J. Achimugu (Deputy Rector, NCAT) at the administrative wing of the college.

Emmanuel Sofa (Coordinator - SOFER Initiative) 

Emmanuel Sofa receiving commendations from Capt Achimugu

Members of ACC34 at the presentation.

Representatives of NCAT lead by the Deputy Rector with members of ACC34 and the HOS ATS/Comms School. 
Brief advice from Deputy Rector Achimugu and Mr Imaligue of ATS/Comms School.

From left to right: Aisha, Emmanuel Sofa, Kalu Ogbonna, Amina Fagbayi and Ibrahim Garba (Project Team Members)
Kalu Ogbonna sketching the slogan of a board.

Ibrahim Garba and Amina Fagbayi driving tiny nails into the bottle caps.

Emmanuel Sofa hammering the bottle caps to the board.


Thursday, 24 September 2015

Welcome to the New SOFER.

It's been an amazing journey through and true. An inspirational conquest in its entirety for individuals and organisations involved with SOFER Initiative. Years have rolled by, sweats through toils amidst smiles, yet still a distance from attaining optimum output in environmental awareness. Challenges abound but hearts have fused together for the purpose of achieving a future for generations here and unborn. We love what we do. Our benefits? Not sure, but we know that little efforts and pro-activity will create a future we might be lucky to see and smile about someday.

We have been able to redesign our logo and refocus our energy into the future of raising awareness, impacting generations and helping to reduce the adversity that becloud the global environment. We went through series of fund raising campaigns and had a less than 5% response between 2010 and 2015. We embarked on State projects and hoping to get the required support from the States. We had reasons to take off our gloves and find alternative ways of dealing with our environment with no regard for its deterioration yet we are lacing up our shoes and continuing the struggle.

SOFER Initiative is building momentum and attitude to push further on the campaign towards environmental sustainability. We are diversifying our portfolio to include; supply of waste management materials in collaboration with available institutions and government. We are also looking at partnering with companies in Nigeria and abroad on waste recycling on a large scale.
As much as we want to be supported to carry out noble causes, we feel the need to support ourselves as much as we can.
Between 4th to 6th June, 2015 we carried out our franchise by joining to celebrate the World Environment Day 2015.  It entailed:

  •  Collaborating with the Nigerian Airforce Institute of Safety to educate the Market women and community of Ipetu Ijesa in Osun State, Nigeria on waste management, donation of waste bins and installation of an incinerator.

  •  Unveiling the New SOFER Initiative Logo, designed and constructed by the Coordinator, made out of plastic bottle caps on a board to promote recycling.

  • Launching of the iRECYCLE NIGERIA Campaign (EnviroTeen Recycle Challenge).
  • Introducing the iRECYCLE Giveaway (collect used items from the public and put them on display for free to the community with an option of donation).

  • Visiting the Prison for Clean Up Exercise and environmental education of inmates.

  • Environmental awareness campaign on radio.

  • Free car wash offered to residents.

It was a swell and fulfilling time for Volunteers and participants of the events as they also went home with UNEP Certificates thanking them for participating in the WED 2015 celebration.