No more auctioning of confiscated wood – Abu Jinapor

Samuel Abu Jinapor

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, has charged the Ahafo Forestry Commission to stop auctioning confiscated wood with immediate effect.

He directed the Forestry Commission to ensure all woods seized were kept in store houses for safe keeping.

The Minister gave the directive at a meeting with the Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs during a working tour of the region.

Elaborating on plans to end lumbering, Mr Jinapor said a taskforce would be constituted soon to enforce the ban on illegal lumbering.

He expressed disbelief at the rate of degradation of the forest cover through the activities of illegal miners and, therefore, appealed to the traditional authorities to help salvage the situation.

“It is true that we are yet to start the reclamation programme, but I would plead with you to help salvage what we have as we wait to cover and gain back the lands used for mining in the past,” he said.

Mr Jinapor said he had received a report about a syndicate terrorizing indigenes and officials of the Forestry Commission in the region and asked the traditional authorities to work together with the Regional Security Committee to clampdown on their activities.

“I have received a number of reports about these cartels, I hear some go by the name Salifu 11 and another Malik 9 who are going round causing harm to our officials, this is not a good thing, and I would plead with you to work together with the REGSEC to bring the situation under grips,” he said.

He urged the chiefs to assume their rightful positions to ensure that charcoal burning was halted adding that he had held similar engagements with chiefs in the Savannah Region, who had taken up the challenge to halt charcoal burning for commercial purposes.

This came on the back of a concern raised by the President of the Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs, Nana Ansah Adu Baah II, about the charcoal burning menace, which is causing havoc to the environment.

Nana Adu Baah expressed displeasure about how the Forestry Commission officers handled confiscated lumbers, saying that the seized woods were sold out to strangers, instead of using them for development purposes.

He asked the Minister to ensure that mining companies in the region provided alternative jobs for the youth as part of their corporate responsibilities.

Other chiefs at the gathering suggested that the soldiers or forestry guards were made to stay within the forest to deter loggers from venturing into it.

Some asked for proper coordination between government and the House of Chiefs to keep them abreast of happenings so they could contribute meaningfully towards ending illegal mining and lumbering in the area.

They assured the Minister of their commitment to protecting the lands, forestry and natural resources in the country, particularly the forest reserves and water bodies.

Nana Adu Baah called on his sub chiefs to comply with the directive by the Minister for the benefit of the Ahafo Community and Ghana as a whole.

Source: GNA

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