Alhaji Innusah Fusheini, Minister of Lands and Forestry
President John Dramani has called for an end to activities of illegal chainsaw operators within Gonja and its environs, cautioning that timber merchants who would flout this directive would severely be punished.
He has therefore directed all merchants currently operating in the area under cover to vacate or have themselves to blame, as security agencies would soon descend on them.
According to him, no person has the right to cut down rosewood in the area and called on the chiefs and people of Gonjaland to rise up and confront the issue head-on to save the depleting fragile ecological zone.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Lands and Forestry, Alhaji Innusah Fusheini at the 38 th Gonjaland Youth Association National Delegates’ Congress held at Daboya, the President expressed worry at the indiscriminate felling of trees, insisting that its future effects could be disastrous.
He indicated that no timber merchant had the conveyance licence from the Forestry Commission to cut down trees in the area, disclosing that all those claiming to have such permits were only deceiving the people.
He accused residents of felling the trees themselves and selling to the merchants and called for an end to the practice in the wake of climate change which he said, could exacerbate the situation and expose them to direct sunlight.
According to President Mahama, the invasion of illegal miners in some parts of Gonjaland had become another source of worry to the government, considering the destruction caused to the environment by these miners.
He therefore called for collaboration to flush out illegal miners who had polluted several water bodies in the area as a way of promoting what he described as inter-generational equity.
The President entreated the people to live in peace and harmony since it is a prerequisite of development, reaffirming his determination to deliver the ‘better Ghana’ in the face of the numerous economic challenges.
He gave the assurance that he was working assiduously to overcome the challenges and meet the numerous promises made to Ghanaians prior to the 2012 general elections.
In his welcoming address, the District Chief Executive (DCE) for North Gonja, Soku Yahuza, fingered traditional authorities as partnering timber merchants to degrade the land in the area, and appealed to the Ministry of Lands and Forestry to halt issuing conveyance permits to the merchants.
He warned that if the practice was allowed to persist, there would come a time when residents would be compelled to flee the area as there would not be arable lands for them to cultivate crops.
President of the Gonjaland Youth Association, Alhassan Dramani, noted that most of these illegal chainsaw operators were using forged conveyance and salvage permits to deceive the chiefs and youth in the area.
He has therefore served notice that the association would partner the various relevant authorities in stemming ‘this negative practice.’
From Stephen Zoure, Daboya
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