By Zulka / padfm.com.gh / April 22, 2021.
The King and Overlord of the Gonja Kingdom, Yagbonwura Tutumba Bore Esa I said the Chiefs and People of Gonjaland are all out to fight illegal rosewood logging, commercial charcoal production and mining (Galamsey) in the area. He added that the Gonja state is failing the founder Sumaila Ndewura Jakpa who fought selflessly to secure the present day Gonjaland for his people.
The Yagbonwura made the statement at a Regional Consultative Environmental Dialogue Forum held at Damongo on Wednesday April 21, 2021.
The vice President of the Gonja Traditional Council and the Paramount Chief of the Buipe Traditional Area, Buipewura Jinapor (||) delivered a speech on behalf of the Yagbonwura.
Welcoming the Chiefs, people from across Savannah region, security agencies, heads of department, youth groups, hon assembly members to the forum, the King said this strategic forum will serve as the roadmap to fixing the environment to it’s normalcy.
He explained that Sumaila Ndewura Jakpa, the conqueror pronounced a son as the Chief in any village or community he conquered and this led to the birth of 20 strategic Paramountcies that make up the present day Gonja Kingdom.
However, it is sad and indescribable how the vegetation cover of the hard earned Kingdom is mishandled especially in matters of illegal logging and glare commercial charcoal burning activities taking place in the kingdom, he lamented.
The illegal rosewood logging, commercial charcoal burning and mining activities in the region are currently being carried out by actors.
Our arable lands are being destroyed, water bodies color keep changing, depletion of the ozone layer, severe rain storms, thereby, exposing the human factor to all manner of environmental hazards are some of the effects of environmental destruction.
The King disclosed that recent rainstorms that hit Savannah region displaced about 1,313 people and rendered them homeless. About 413 rooms were destroyed in the process, though data collection is still ongoing. These occurrencies are as a result of human activities on our land.
He therefore, appealed to all stakeholders to contribute their quota to help stop the menace. ” I call on our revered Paramount Chiefs and key stakeholders as a matter of urgency to, consider the the issues and advise the traditional leadership and stakeholders how to anchor the situation in other for posterity not to judge us”.
He cautioned that the action to stop the destruction of the environment is non political.
” This crusade is not political. The crusade is wearing patriotic lenses and must be seen and approached as such “.
He called for total support of the security, traditional authorities, sons and daughters of the region, regional minister, MDCEs, MPs, opinion leaders, youth groups to help save the environment from danger and untimely collapse.
A communique of comprehensive strategies to nip the environmental canker in the bud will be issued in due course.
Saeed Mauzu Jibril, the hon. Savannah regional minister, said the government of Ghana will soon complete the registration of all people involved in illegal mining called Galamsey, into Community or Small Scale Mining groups to help the Chiefs and people of Savannah region benefit from the numerous gold and other natural resources on the land.
Saeed Muhazu assured the youth that plans to regulate the activities of illegal mining in the region are intact and soon the Chiefs and people of the area will start realizing the real value of the natural resources we have on our lands.
The former West Gonja Municipality MCE said this at the Savannah Regional Environmental Consultative Forum organized by the Gonja Traditional Council and the SRCC.
Nobody is going to chase our young men away from gold mining but they must do it in a proper manner so that the people will benefit and our Chiefs will be respected more, he said.
The registration of all manner of people mining in the Savannah region will start and nobody should feel threatened.
Concessions leaders will register people involved in activities and individuals shall be registered within the region as Small Scale miners. This will help us fish out those who will still be engaging in the activity illegally and not following EPA regulations, he added.
The Minister disclosed that there will be a stakeholder Consultative meeting between Government representatives, traditional leaders of galamsey areas and individuals engaging in the activity to plan the way forward.
He recounted, few days ago we were in Accra for a national dialogue meeting. After the Accra dialogue, we need to have our own dialogue because the challenges are different that is why we can’t paint the whole Ghana with same brush.
Illegal rosewood felling in the region which was banned by the Yagbonwyura, will be enforced with a regional task force led by the regional Police Commander, DSP Bediako.
The task force will commence work after April 30, 2021, with barrier points at Bole district, Central Gonja district and East Gonja municipality.
Commercial charcoal burning is even worse off in the region than any other activity because the actors are now felling our economic trees to produce charcoal. This can’t happen anywhere and we must act now to stop it because our shea trees, dawadawa trees and other are sources of livelihoods to our people.
He noted that the dialogue was initially planned to be between the leadership of Savannah and some five (5) Paramount Chiefs. But upon further consultations with the Yagbonwura, it has been extended to the whole of Gonjaland chiefs.
Saeed Muhazu said the Ashanti Kingdom is respected so much because they are able to manage their lands and resources there. They are rich and respected because they have taken control of the natural resources on their lands.
Gold deposits in Gonjaland must be mined and sold by people from this area.
padfm.com.gh / Abdulai Zulkaninu.