Some major source of drinking water in the Wa East District of the Upper West Region has been dried up as residents blamed the situation over the depletion of the forest by illegal rosewood loggers. Rivers and streams that are the major source of drinking water for all year round for these residents especially kundugu, Halimboi Sombisi, Kulun, and many others have started bearing the brunt in this early season. They said the government must take responsibility for the situation because it is a government that issues permits for outsiders to come and harvest their rosewood which is now affecting them. They said for the past 10 years they never experience their rivers and streams drying up this time of the season especially in November.
In a monitoring visit and following a tip-off undertaken by Jaksally Development Organization led by Jeremiah Seidu and a native of Bawiesebe Mr Ayanah Mohammed Abdullah about some rosewoods that were being packed beside the route linking Tantanla’ – Kundugu’ Yala on Friday 15th November 2019 last week have been transported.
Mr Ayanah Mohammed said the inhuman activities that have been orchestrated by rosewood loggers is due to government continuous issuance of permits for outsiders to log rosewood in the Savannah Ecological Zone is causing the early drying of rivers, streams, burning, and destruction of fresh shea trees leading to climate change and its effect. He said for sometimes now rosewood logging has become rampant in the area by some few greedy individuals whom they are up against their forces that are only looking for money today and nothing tomorrow.
Mr Ayanah said even in the midst streams and rivers drying up loggers are doing everything possible to move out the woods as the onset of bush fire facilitated by them.
He stated that lack of telecommunication and good road networks is making it difficult for people to call and report cases of illegal felling of trees especially rosewood in those parts of the country. Mr Ayanah said loggers are taking advantage of the situation to harvest and also transport woods during night hours.
He appealed to the government, Upper West Regional Minister and DCEs for the Wa East and Sisila West to immediately fix their telecommunications network challenge so that people can be able to make phone calls and also report cases of illegal destruction of the environment to the security agencies on time.
Mr Ayanah said Wa East district and Sisila West Municipality have been identified as hotspot zone for rosewood activities.
He also urged government to put in place management committees at the national, regional, ecological, district and local level that will include community, District assembly, Regional Coordinating Council, security, and the forestry commission to ensure strict implementation and enforcement of community by-laws and national laws on the environment including community environmental governance systems.
The Programme Coordinator of Jaksally Development Organization Jeremiah Seidu on his part called for more education and structural reforms to empower communities to take up the management of its forest in order to ensure that there is sanity in the system. He said ban upon ban by the government will not yield any results because the government and its officials are deeply involved in rosewood businesses.
“We have seen ban upon bans by government which are not working because the same government and its officials still give permission for outsiders to come and log in the Savannah Ecological zone which is fragile zone and prohibit any wood species logging, including rosewood, shea trees, pawupawu, and any timber species activities ” he stated.
He questioned while government action placed a ban on rosewood and give permits for the harvesting of pawpaw and other species in the ecological zone.
“As a CSO we believe that an immediate halt of all permits in the area whether for the pawupawu, teak or whatsoever should be stopped once it is wood and proper management systems are put in place in order to curb rosewood canker in the UWR” he indicated.
He urged the Upper West, Upper East, and North Eastern Regional Ministers as a matter of agency to quickly put a total ban on any form of wood harvesting, salvaging, transportation, processing, and exports in the regions which also form part of the savannah ecological zone.
Mr Seidu Jeremiah blamed the forestry officers in the UWR and North Eastern Region for doing little in the wake of a ban because people are still processing and transporting rosewood including pawupawu.