LET’S FOLLOW THE LEAD OF LAWYER ASSOMAH CHEREMEH TO STOP ILLEGAL TIMBER SMUGGLING.
Lawyer Kweku Assomah Cheremeh, is among the ministers appointed to serve in the new government of president Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo. He is the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, who like some ministers, had to struggle to gain acceptance after a brief ‘conflict’ with some traditional rulers of Brong Ahafo, even though he had overwhelming support of the New Patriotic Party members in his region. In spite of the early hiccup, he seems to have a good start in his job. We don’t know what steps he is taking to tackle the many duties assigned him, being the political head of the region.
However, if the success chalked in his fight against timber smuggling in this early days, in the Brong Ahafo Region is anything to go by, the Regional Minister is on his way to realizing his goals especially in helping to safeguard the endangered forest cover in our forests in a region.
Following a tip off, some articulator trucks, loaded with timber, which were about to be sent out to Burkina Faso were apprehended on the orders of the Regional Minister. All those articulators have been seized and those involved in the smuggling have been charged with the offence with the possibility of being penalized to serve as a deterrent to others and to end the plunder of our forests. This move if pursued would lead to all the law enforcement agencies working to plug the loopholes through which the nation is losing its forest products especially in our forest reserves.
The latest information from the Ministry of Lands and Forestry has indicated that Ghana is likely to lose its forest cover in less than 20 years if the rate of deforestation, estimated to be 65,000 hectares per annum persists.
according Ghanaian chronicle ,Ghana’s total forest cover, which stood at 8.2 million hectares (34% of the total land area) at the turn of the last century has decreased to 1.6million hectares.
The Technical Director of the ministry of lands and forestry, Mr. Fredua Agyeman, said currently over 80% of the total land area, which was originally covered with humid tropical forests has been degraded.
The question is what was the situation before the Regional Minister was appointed? It means that hundreds of articulator trucks full of timber products were made to leave the nation daily to neighboring countries. In fact, some people in the region have confessed that smuggling of timber is a lucrative job for some people working with the connivance of state officials including our security personnel.
Given the seriousness of this issue we need to take the following steps;
- Set up a committee with the involvement of officials of the ministry of lands and forestry, the forestry commission, the regional ministries concerned and all the security systems.
- This committee must review the activities of timber trade with the view to finding out whether their activities are in conformity with the established and acceptable rules.
- The committee would have to find out to what extent our forest reserves are invaded day and night by bandits while our forest guards look on unconcerned.
The findings in the work of the committee would lead to a step taken to stop the plunder of our forests for the selfish interest of those people outside Ghana and their local collaborators.
BY ALHAJI ALHASAN ABDULAI.
eanfoworld for sustainable development
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