padfm.com.gh / By Zulka
The Gonja Traditional Council (GTC) is sounding a powerful caution to the government of Ghana to help the council with task force to stop the menace , else the council will deploy its own local commandos (warriors) to stop the canker.
The Vice President of the Gonja Traditional Council, Buipewura Jinapor II sounded the warning at the Jakpa Palace, Damongo on Monday May 10, 2021.
The Gonja Traditional Council, Savannah Region House of Chiefs together with the Savannah Regional Coordinating Council (SRCC) held a regional stakeholders forum in April, 2021, to stop the illegal logging and commercial charcoal production in the area.
On 28th April, 2021, the five (5) Eminent Chiefs committee chaired by Bolewura Kutugefeso I finalized it’s work and submitted its findings to the council.
The ban is expected to take effect today, Monday 10th May, 2021 across the Gonja state.
At a press briefing at Jakpa Palace, Buipewura Jinapor II, who represented the King of Gonja State, Yagbonwura Tutumba Bore Esa I, said the GTC need to leave a good legacy for this and generations yet unborn.
He charged all the chiefs and people of the region to support the traditional leaders to end the manace.
From 10th May, 2021, any vehicle impounded with charcoal will be made to pay a penalty of GHC 5.00 per bag of Charcoal,
GHC 5,000 penalty charge on the vehicle load.
The Savannah regional minister, Saeed Muhazu Jibril assured the chiefs and people of Gonja that the SRCC will provide the needed task force to help stop the illegality.
He said this administration will do whatever it takes legally, to stop all illegal logging, charcoal burning and Galamsey activities in the region.
He assured that those involved in the Galamsey will not be thrown out of business but will be put into community mining groups in order to regulate their activities for the benefit of the Chiefs and people in the region.
He disclosed that a meeting with those in the Mining Business is scheduled for this Friday May 14, 2021.
Various optional speakers who took turns to speak, all supported the actions of the Chiefs and Queen mothers to stopping the menace.
Read the highlights of the Bolewura Kutugefeso I led committee below.
The Savannah Regional House of Chiefs resolved on the following measures to end the menace.
That, commercial charcoal burning, illegal logging, commercial harvesting of fuel wood and illegal small scale mining activities in the Savannah Region have been banned effective Monday, 10th May, 2021.
That after 10th of May, 2021 through to 30th of May, 2021, any truck or vehicle conveying charcoal from the Savannah Region and lands of Savannah Region lying outside the Region will attract a penalty of five Ghana Cedis (GHC5) only per bag of charcoal.
That any vehicle after the 10th of May 2021 to the 30th of May 2021, conveying logs from the Savannah Region or from lands of Savannah Region lying outside the Region will attract five thousand Ghana Cedis ( GHC5,000) penalty per load.
That any vehicle conveying logs or charcoal after 10th of May, 2021, will attract One thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC 1,000) only for making available the vehicle for conveyance
That the taskforce shall comprise chiefs, Assemblies, Forestry Commission unit and the Security in the Region.
That every paramount chief should as a matter of urgency form a taskforce in line with the composition of the taskforce spelt out in this communique in his jurisdiction to support the ban to achieve its set goals and report same to the Regional House of Chiefs.
That there should be an Inter-Regional Ministerial dialogue among Ministers of the Savannah Region, Upper West Region and Bono-East Region on the implementation plan and to solicit their support for effective implementation of the plan.
That Tuluwewura, Paramount chief of the Tuluwe division of Gonja should duly communicate to all Gonja communities outside the Region about the full force of this ban and act concurrently with the ban.
The committee also recommended the following sanctions are charged on culprits or defaulters of the ban;
a), first time offender if a chief, shall be suspended indefinitely.
b), Where the chief is involved in such an illegality the second time, shall be dismissed from the skin or stool as a chief.
c), any product found related to this matter pursuant to the ban shall be confiscated and the product disposed off in smaller quantities domestically.
d), proceeds accruing from the confiscated materials shall be lodged with the Regional House of Chiefs.
That the Regional taskforce including two chiefs shall be the monitoring taskforce monitoring all the activities of the ban and thereby reporting accordingly to the key stakeholders.
That the following exit points following the ban shall continue to ensure that these products never find their way out.
These exits points include; Buipe, Bamboi, Mankango, Kpembe, Sankpala, Jama and Mankarigu.
That any paramount chief in his jurisdiction with his taskforce who might have caused a confiscation of charcoal or logs materials will lodge 70% of the proceeds with the paramountcy and the taskforce and thereby lodge 30% of the proceeds to the Regional House of Chiefs.
That at any exit points, the paramount chief and his taskforce if they confiscate charcoal or logs materials shall lodge with the paramountcy with its taskforce 60% of the proceeds and lodge 40% of proceeds to the Regional House of Chiefs.
That the Bolewura Sarfo Kutugefeso committee is permanent on matters of environmental issues that will affect negatively the Savannah Region and its lands lying outside the region. The committee therefore has oversight responsibility to the ban completely.
That the Bolewura Sarfo Kutugefeso committee in due course will submit a tentative report on small scale mining activities in the Region and also prescribe strategy to address matters of chainsaw and sawmilling operations in the Region to fully streamline the industry’s activities to conform with the laws of the Republic of Ghana.
That the ban on illegal logging, commercial charcoal burning and commercial fuel wood harvesting in the Savannah Region and all its accompanying matters will come to a complete ban on Sunday 30th of May, 2021.
Any other transaction on these matters without following the appropriate process shall not be allowed and or valid in the Savannah Region.
A stakeholder consultative meeting be carried out to iron out livelihood matters that must have arisen as a result of this outright ban. However, all actors are encouraged to take advantage of the government policies i.e. planting for food and jobs already rolled out to reduce the impact of any dislocation and/or destabilization the ban might have caused.
padfm.com.gh / Abdulai Zulkaninu