It has been alleged that the government is seeking a court order for Permit Holders, Contractors in the rosewood business to collect and salvage dry lying logs that were abandoned during a ban on illegal rosewood logging and transportation on March 11, 2019, by the Minister for Lands and Natural resources.
Even before that alleged order can be verified there are already massive harvesting of fresh rosewood including pawpaw, shea trees, and many other economic trees ready to be transported in Broto in the West Gonja Municipality of the Savannah Region.
Also, in the Nokang a community in the Kasane Nankana West District of the Upper East Region, fresh logging has been sighted.
Meanwhile, these fresh-cuts in Broto were reported to forestry offices in Bole, Buipe, and the Regional office in Damongo on Tuesday 26 May 2020 but no action has been taken.
Speaking to Wesaygh.com Jeremiah Seidu, a lone ranger in the fight against rosewood logging in the Savannah ecological zone said he has gathered information that ‘CITES Permits’ are been issued to some contractors by the forestry commission at the head office during weekends and even in the night.
According to him he also gathered that guest houses across northern Ghana are filled with Chinese nationals and their Ghanaian counterparts who are busy signing contracts to delivering dry lying logs as a result of the ban.
Jeremiah believes that this alleged CITES Permits is to pave way for these contractors to go on with their illegalities.
According to him most of these permits are to clear and evacuate rosewood that has been harvested and sent to China without proper documentation, labeling, intentionally mislabeling rosewood as sawdust, charcoal, teak, and many more, to be cleared now.
“The Hotels and guest houses in the Northern regional capital Tamale, Savannah region-Buipe, Upper West -Tumu and all over the savannah ecological zone are filled with Chinese nationals busy signing contract with their Ghanaian and northern counterparts for rosewoods supplies ranging between 100 to 200 containers per contract; The strategy that government and Forestry Commission adopted is that they will call Chinese and sell these CITIES permits to salvage dry lying logs which are useless and dead now and use Ghanaians to go and collect the wood,” he said.
On Monday, May 25, 2020 pictures of fresh rosewood were being circulated as loggers have harvested in numbers ready to be transported, also on June 6, 2020 pictures of fresh rosewood including pawpaw have been harvested and packed waiting for transport in the Nokang community in the Kasana Nankana West District.
Jeremiah called on the people of the Savannah Ecological Zone to rise up and join the fight against illegal wood logging in the area.
He also called on all traditional authorities, youth, MMDAs, MDAs, and CSOs in the affected regions to resist any attempt by the government that is seeking an order to salvage and collect dry lying logs that the minister placed a ban on last year.
Jeremiah questioned whether if the ban is no more in force.
Meanwhile, stakeholders in Gonjaland said they have no knowledge about government consultation to allow permits holders to salvage the abandoned logs.
The Gonja Traditional Council Registrar, Mr. Abutu Kapori speaking on phone to ascertain the fact of consultation and discussion for consent from the Traditional Council, said nothing of such has come to their notice for discussion or agreement.
He reiterated that the council disassociates itself from all receipts or knowledge of permits for whatsoever to salvage dry lying logs which he said will not END rosewood brouhaha.
“The Gonja Traditional Council and its members do not and have no support for whatsoever order and will fiercely resist any such order from the government to do so in Gonjaland” and Savannah Region he said.
It is recalled that the Minister set up a committee in August 2019 after a publication – by Environmental Investigation Agency-EIA report and title BAN-BOOZLED How corruption and collusion fuel illegal rosewood trade in Ghana – placed a ban on rosewood salvaging, logging, transportation, and trade.
The Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources in August set up a seven-member committee to investigate into the allegations cited in the EIAs publication.
On the 23rd of December, 2020 the National Committee to investigate rosewood atrocities and allegation presented its report.
The minister, subsequently on behalf of the government in January 2020, told the nation that there were no such collusion and corruption allegations found by the committee. A presentation yet to be accepted or otherwise by Ghanaians but due to the COVID 19 pandemic.