Finally, the Upper East Region has got a leader who is interested in protecting its Forest Reserves and bold enough to punish people caught perpetrating or aiding the illegal felling of cash trees, especially Rosewood Trees; irrespective of their status.
In recent past, Chain-Saw Operators believed to have the backing of some hidden individuals connected to Government, Traditional Authorities and even the Forest Commission, have caused havoc to many Forest Reserves, with their indiscriminate felling of trees in Forest Reserves in the region. Affected reserves are located in the Bawku West, Garu-Tempane, Builsa South, Chiana-Paga etc.
The Upper East Minister, Rockson Ayine Bukari, in his maiden interaction with the media, said the Regional Security Council has accessed the situation and will soon form a Task-Force to clamp down on the activities of all individuals and groups engaging in illegal Rosewood Tree felling.
He has also called on the Land and Natural Resources Minister, to put in place measures to halt the signing of fictitious permits for lifting of so-called confiscated Rosewood Trees from Forest Reserves and also set up a Committee to investigate the activities of illegal felling of Rosewood Trees across the country.
If his speech is anything to go by, then it can be confidently said that, the actions of the selfish individuals and groups mentioned above, will gradually come to a halt, because, the affected communities will have the support of Regional Minister and Task-Force to impound illegally fell Rosewood Trees.
On Thursday, March 9, a team of Police and Soldiers impounded a crane and a track loaded with Rosewood and hidden in a bush at Anateem, a suburb of the Bolgatanga Municipality.
Unfortunately for the team, the illegal Operators, as well as the driver and his mate of the truck, abandoned the track with Rosewood and ran away. A total of 19 logs were on the truck before it was impounded, while 75 logs that were yet to be trimmed, were also confiscated.
Usually, when the illegal Chain Saw Operators, working for their Chinese masters, finish loading, they hide their booty and depend of their collaborators to use their Offices and networks to clear the road with money before the “loot” is transported under day light.
In many cases very little or nothing at all, in terms of money, is given to the communities, before this expensive resource is taken from them, and for this reason the, Upper East Regional Minister has promised expose all members of the syndicate perpetrating this crime and make their business difficult and unattractive under his tenure.
Executive Director of ORGIIS-Ghana, Julius Awareja, has told the Daily Guide that, per his estimation, a total of over 3 million Rosewood trees have been illegally cut from the region and exported to China alone and yet, the communities have nothing to boast of.
He has assured the Minister of the collaboration of the communities his organisation working with.
Ebo Bruce-Quansah, Bolgatanga