Mr Daniel Banuoku, the Deputy Executive Director, Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD), has described the illegal harvesting of rosewood and charcoal burning as the “most grievous state organised crime against the people of northern Ghana”.
That, he said, was because the state authorities, institutions, departments, and agencies that were mandated by law to protect the environment were aware of the rampant harvesting of rosewood and charcoal burning in northern Ghana but had done little to stop it.
Mr Banuoku said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sideline of a stakeholder collaborative dialogue at Bole.
It was organised by the Jaksally Development Organisation in partnership with A Rocha Ghana, SILDEP, CIKOD, and NorthCode.
The meeting was to discuss the adverse impact of rosewood logging and charcoal burning on the environment as well as effective ways to end the menace.
It was on the theme: “Securing the Fragile Woodlands of the Savannah Region for Climate Resilience to rosewood, charcoal production, and climate change”.
“It is a very well planned and orchestrated criminal activity led by the state to deplete the environment of northern Ghana and it is so frustrating”, Mr Banuoku added.
He indicated that the constitution mandated everybody to protect the environment and wondered why these syndicated illegal activities are still perpetuated in the Savannah Ecological Zone (NEZ).
Mr Banuoku, therefore, charged well-meaning Ghanaians to endeavour to protect the environment and to help end the menace of rosewood logging and charcoal burning.
Madam Veronica Alele Heming, the Bole District Chief Executive (DCE) called for concerted efforts towards ending the menace of rosewood logging and charcoal burning in NEZ.
She said there was the need for a movement against illegal logging and charcoal burning in the area, as the act was fast causing economic trees such as shea trees and rosewood to go into extinction.
Madam Heming noted that as part of efforts to help halt the menace, she had held several security meetings in some communities.
“We have had security meetings, we have had DISEC meetings, and we’ve had all sorts of meetings about deforestation and charcoal burning… I am actually for the stoppage of rosewood logging and charcoal burning but I cannot do it alone… we must have a movement”, she stated.
She was alarmed about the poverty level of the people in the region while their economic trees are being carted away.
“We are in Savannah Region, Savannah means grassland, not forest, so why is it that people will come here and cut our wood and carry it away, take it to the port, get more money, bring back the polish wood, sell it to us as furniture and we are running around to go and buy it”, she explained.
She added that it was disappointing that the southern women will come to the north to buy charcoal in large quantities while there were no women in the north who trade in charcoal.
The DCE also emphasised the need for traditional authorities to join efforts towards fighting the menace of rosewood logging and charcoal burning.