Ghana Forestry Commission vows to protect Achimota forest

Achimota ForestThe Forestry Commission has vowed to protect the Achimota Forest Reserve against trespassers to save it from degradation.

Mr Samuel Afari-Dartey, Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, said as a constitutionally mandated body, the Commission would not stand by to allow the destruction of the Achimota Forest to continue.

He was speaking to journalists after the Commission’s forest guards were prevented from erecting a wall by Police officers from the Greater Accra Regional Command stationed in the forest.

Mr Afari-Dartey said the Commission initiated action to erect a wall around the forest and also to facilitate ease of patrol by the protection staff and was surprised that the Police instead of assisting the Commission was preventing them.

“We are surprised that the Greater Accra Regional Police Command instead of assisting the Forestry Commission to pursue its constitutional and legal mandate of protecting the forest reserve, which belongs to the state and the people of Ghana, it has rather sent its men to prevent us from doing so while allowing the private developer to erect a wall.”

Mr Afari-Dartey said similar actions by developers had resulted in the lost about 140 hectares of the original 495 hectares to urban encroachment.

“We are now doing everything possible to safeguard the rest of the 360 hectares. But the Commission cannot do it alone and therefore we need the support of the law enforcement agencies, land owners, the general public especially our media friends, to support us in the effort to stop the destruction,” he said.

Mr Afari-Dartey emphasised that the forest in general serves environmental functions, including acting as a shelter belt for noise created by human activities in the city to provide a serene environment in the city.

However, the Police have denied they were supporting the private developer. Instead, they said there were in the Achimota Forest to prevent private developers from erecting a structure.

They asked the Forestry Commission to get clearance from national security to carry out the fencing of the forest reserve.

Source: GNA

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