Disclose how much revenue generated through illegal wood logging – NGO inquires MMDAs, Traditional Rulers, and Tribal youth groups
By Mary Maxey October 24, 2019
The Program Coordinator of Jaksally Development Organization in the Savannah Region Mr. Seidu Jeremiah has alleged that the recent illegal logging of rosewood and other tree species in the Savanna Ecological Zone was perpetrated by some government officials at the local levels.
He alleged that some Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies, assembly members, which fall within the Savannah Ecological Zone was charging and taking money from rosewood dealers which he said promoted their illegal activities.
Mr. Seidu also claimed that Traditional rulers and various tribal youth organizations due to illiteracy, ignorance, and lack of knowledge and selfishness also took peanuts.
Speaking in an interview with Wesaygh.com about the extent of damage to wood logging and commercial charcoal burning in the Savanna Ecological Zone, Mr. Seidu stated that these stakeholders were issuing receipts and charging peanuts ranging from GHS 500.00 to GHS 1000.00 per truckload or container of rosewood which is worth at least GHS 300, 000.00 at bush cut.
Rosewood, timber species and shea trees have been the most harvested tree species within the period in the Savanna Ecological Zone which has been described as fragile zone hence prohibit any form of tree logging.
Charcoal burners have also perpetrated in the illegal cutting down of economic trees such as fresh shea and Dawa Dawa trees for charcoal. This is because they believed that its charcoal lasts longer.
He indicated that the communities that have been hit by this illegal wood logging are worried over climate change effect, depletion of the vegetation, low rainfall coupled with low yield.
Mr. Seidu said the residents in these areas have complained to him that their natural source of drinking water is drying up due to the activities of wood logging.
He also accused the MMDAs, traditional rulers and tribal youth groups of failing to disclose revenues they generated through rosewood and commercial charcoal productions which is now rampant in the Northern parts of the country.
“These fees were not gazetted and were not in their fee in fixing the resolution of these various MMDAs but were collected, receipts for non-accountability, non-transparency, collusion and corruption by the government, and the government functionaries at the local level,” he said. Mr. Seidu is meanwhile asking these stakeholders that were demanding equity and justice on how their forests are been used and managed by the Forestry Commission (FC) should come forward and account to the public
how much revenue they were able to realize through the issuance of receipts.
He is also asking them to name specific intervention projects which they have been able to do with such proceeds.
“He who demands equity and justice must come with a clean hand, and account to the public how much revenue was generated, name specific interventions or projects undertaken with such revenues during rosewood operation he indicated.
He mentioned instances where he has seen different types of receipts purported to be coming from some traditional quarters such as Tumu Traditional Council, Wasipe Traditional Council, the Gonja Traditional Council by some individuals claimed to be the representatives of their chiefs
Rosewood campaigner urged the Forestry Commission to do the publication of the value of various kinds of wood species, and make it available to the various stakeholders, so that, appropriate charges and fees will be taken to reduce illegalities in the forest.
He called for openness in the traditional and youth administrations, accountability and transparency in MMDAs, and capacity enhancement of lower courts to review courts’ penalty units upwards to scare people from destroying the environment.
Mr. Seidu also urged the public to demand accountability and coordinated effort to support resolve the systemic failure in national law implementation and good environmental governance at the local level to deal with collusion and corruption.