The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Samuel Jinapor has sternly charged the Ahafo Forestry Commission not to auction any confiscated wood with immediate effect and till further notice.
The Minister said until he gets back to the Commission with a different directive. The officers of the commission are to ensure that woods seized are kept in storehouses, the forest, or wherever the woods are kept.
He said this during a meeting with the Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs on Thursday, 18th November 2021.
Addressing the chiefs on ways to put an end to lumbering in the region, the Minister suggested that a sort of “Operation Halt” be enforced in the region for a period.
He said he was saddened by the rate at which the land of the Ahafo region has been degraded by the activities of lumbering and galamsey and therefore appealed to the chiefs to help him salvage those available.
He added ” it is true that we are yet to start with 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”
Hon. Jinapor also commented on reports he has received about the Cartel syndicate terrorizing the indigenes and officials of the Forestry Commission and asked that the Housework together with the REGSEC to clamp down on their activities.
He said ” I have received a number of reports about this cartel, I hear some go by the name Salifu 11 and another Malik 9 who are going around 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”
The Lands Minister again craved the indulgence of the chiefs to assume their rightful positions and capacity as heads of the traditional areas and ensure that charcoal burning is halted.
The Minister testified that he has had similar engagements with the chiefs in the Savannah Region who have taken it up seriously and so currently charcoal burning for commercial purposes is a thing of the past in the Savannah Region.
This charge of the Minister comes after some concerns expressed about the commission in the region by the President of the Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs, Nana Ansah Adu Baah II.
The President, who is also the Yamfohene expressed displeasure about how the officers handle wood confiscated, saying that the perpetrators are not penalised as they should and the wood sold out to strangers instead of being used for developmental projects in the region.
Tabling other concerns to the Minister, the President of the house asked that the Minister request mining companies in their community to build factors in the region to ensure that the youth have an alternative job to mining and also embark on developmental projects which will add onto the facelift of their community.
Some other chiefs at the gathering suggested that the soldiers or forestry guards be made to stay within the forest in order to deter the loggers from venturing into the forests.
Another asked that there should be proper coordination between government and the House of Chiefs to keep them abreast of happenings so they can contribute meaningfully to the end lumbering and galamsey in the area.
Having made their concerns known, the King assured the Minister of their readiness and continued commitment towards the protection of the Lands, Forestry and Natural Resources of the country, particularly the forest reserves and water bodies which he said are of prime concern to them.
He further called on his sub-chiefs to go by the directives given by the Minister for the benefit of the Ahafo community and for Ghana as a whole.