The Greening Northern Ghana (GNA), an environmental Non-Governmental Organization, has called on government to prosecute Ms Helena Huang, a Chinese national who was arrested in Tamale for illegally, transporting rosewood to serve as deterrent to others.
They also called on the government to urgently conduct thorough investigations into the matter and bring to book all persons involved in the act and make them face the full vigorous of the law.
Alhaji Abdullah Otito Achuliwo, the National Chairman of GNG, who made the demand in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, stressed that the practice was “an act of sabotage to our economy and a blatant disregard for our rule of law.”
It would be recalled that, a few days ago, the Northern Regional Police Command held a press conference to announce the arrest of one Ms Helena Huang, a Chinese citizen for smuggling rosewood of four 20-seater containers from the Northern Region to Tema.
It would further be recalled that, in March, this year, government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources issued a directive to the Forestry Commission to effect a ban on the felling, conveyance and transportation of rosewood in the country.
This was done to protect the forest reserves and preserve the endangered tree species, which takes about 50 to 100 years to mature from fast depleting.
He expressed worry that whilst NGOs like the GNG were undertaking projects to complement government’s efforts of combating desertification and greening the environment, some people were stabbing their efforts at the back.
Alhaji Achuliwo said, “when we have volunteered to use our own time, money and resources to plant 28 million trees in the five regions of the north and while we are struggling to replace the vegetation cover, someone sits somewhere and gives a permit or allows a foreigner to come and take as much as four containers of rosewood at a go. You can see that our effort at greening the north would not yield any results if they continue to do away with our woods like that.
“Like the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana said, they do not know where our gold, rosewood and all the natural resources are, so it means it is Ghanaians who are leading the people to where the things are. He said their government does not issue visas for their nationals to come to this country, so in the same vein, it is our embassy in China that is issuing them the visas and giving them work permit.”
The NGO said the act by the Chinese national amounts to treating Ghanaians like “garbage and taking us for granted.”
They called on the law enforcement agencies to bring all persons irrespective of their social status who were found culpable in the act and ensure that they faced the full rigorous of the law.