Date: September 8, 2020
Activities of some selected timber merchants with permits have “resurfaced in the Sissala East Municipality to salvage the remaining fallen rosewood”, the Municipal Chief Executive, Hon. Karim Nanyua says.
Addressing Assembly members during the First Ordinary Session of the Sissala East Municipal Assembly on August 20, 2020, Hon. Karim Nanyua has however called on stakeholders to have an eagle eye on the exercise to ensure strict compliance with the directives of operation concerning the permits given the merchants.
“Hon. Members, Chiefs, Sissala Youth Forum(SYF), Forestry Commission, NGOs this is an important exercise we must all show interest in by putting up our eagle eyes on the exercise and make sure that the directives and limitations pertaining to permits are neither exceeded nor abused”, he appeals.
The MCE also lamented the environment been facing some serious threats of losing its vegetation through “unscrupulous activities such as charcoal burning, felling of rosewood, bushfires” among others.
Hon. Karim Nanyua has also said as part of the reclamation of the degraded forest landscape, efforts are been made by the Forestry Commission to raise 180,000 seedlings, and about 267.5 acres of land of 375 acres earmarked has been planted with some of the seedlings including 2,000 rosewood species.
Government position on rosewood harvesting
Earlier this year, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, extended indefinitely the ban on the harvesting, transportation, processing, and exportation of rosewood.
The extension to the ban which was first imposed in March is a measure to completely halt the illegal trade in the endangered tree species.
The move is in accordance with the recommendations made by a committee that was set up to investigate allegations made by the Environmental Intelligence Agency (EIA) that government officials were involved in institutionalized corruption in the illegal trade in the endangered tree species.
At a news conference held in Accra this year to announce the ban on rosewood, the minister called for inter-agency collaboration, especially between metropolitan, municipal, and district assemblies (MMDAs), the Forestry Commission, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the security agencies to clamp down on all forms of illegal trade in Rosewood.
Youth protest on re-emergence of rosewood harvesting in the Sissala East Municipality
Irate youth in Tumu, the capital of the Sissala East Municipality in the Upper West Region on February 18, 2020, locked up the offices of the Forestry Commission.
The action according to the youth was to protest the re-emergence of rosewood harvesting in the municipality.
Shedding more light on the move, Chairman of the Sissala Youth Forum, Yussif Napuna indicated that several attempts to get officials of the Commission for a consultative discussion had failed.
This situation, therefore, left them with no other option than to resort to the closure.
“It is important that the forestry resources of our land are put to good use. When we think that these resources should be re-channeled but people concerned do not follow the law, then it calls for action for the will of the people to prevail. We want some series of engagement with stakeholders. We are going to take further actions after this so that we deliberate on this.”
“We took into consideration all the legal implications and decided to engage them but they are not willing to talk. We didn’t tie or assault anybody. We just spoke to them and told them that if they are not ready to engage us, they should just go out of the office if they do not want to work…and they left. After they left, they then called the police.”
The Forestry Commission has in the past rejected claims that officials of the commission are complicit in alleged illegal felling of rosewood.
Clement Apaak, Member of Parliament who has been at the forefront of the fight has criticized the government’s seeming lack of seriousness towards the fight against the illegal felling of rosewood in the country.