The ban on commercial charcoal production, illegal logging including rosewood, commercial harvesting of fuel wood and illegal small scale mining activities in the Savannah Region have commenced effective Monday, 10th May, 2021.

Addressing a press conference at the forecourt of the palace of the overlord of the Gonja Traditional Area, Yagbonwura Boresah Tutumba II, the Chairman in charge of the five-member committee instituted to see to an end to the menace in the region, Bolewura Safo Kutugefeso said, anyone found culpable would be made to pay heavy fine.

He said, it is time to end the wanton destruction of the environment as leadership in the region has been accused of always playing the ostrich.

“The leadership of the Region has been accused, called all sort of names, mentioned in songs produced by musicians, discuss in deterrent fora on all social platforms in the Region. Enough is Enough. The Regional House want to assure the taskforces formed, the youth, men and women, the aged, chiefs, children, friends and love ones in the Savannah Region that the leadership of the House is awake and will do everything possible within our means to nib the environmental canker in the bud”, he assured.

According to Chairman of the Committee, it would be hopeless if the leadership of the House of Chiefs and government in the region pretend to allow what he described as ill, unfriendly, mordant, heart burning, barbaric, devastating, and merciless environmental collapse activities continue.

He has therefore invited all hands to be on deck to efficiently enforce the ban to achieve its objectives, adding that, everybody in the Savannah Region is a taskforce.

The Gonja Traditional Council, Savannah Regional 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 its work and submitted its findings to the council.

The details of the fine

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 (GHC 5,000) 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, after 30th May, 2021 in the Savannah Region, any carriage of goods of such banned products shall be confiscated and offloaded at a defined dumping ground.

The decision on the confiscated items shall be taking by the committee of the Savannah Regional House of Chiefs headed by Bolewura Sarfo Kutuge Feso I and all exit points in the Region shall effectively be blocked.

The Chairman assured the taskforce formed, chiefs and other key stakeholders in the Savannah Region that, the leadership of the Regional House of Chiefs is awake and would do everything possible within its means to protect the fragile environment, adding that, everybody in the Savannah Region is a member of the taskforce.

Deployment of local warriors

Vice President of the Savannah Regional House of Chiefs and the Paramount Chief for the Buipe Traditional Area, Buipewura Abdulai Jinapor II on behalf of the Yagbonwura appealed to the government to support the fight to end the menace by providing security for the operations to flush out those involved in the act.

Buipewura Jinapor II however cautioned that, the Traditional Council would deploy its own local warriors to stop the canker if government fails to support them.

He said, it took the efforts of the overlord to fight for the creation of the Savannah Region after several failed efforts which the resources of the region must be protected for the future generation.

He warned again that the fight has nothing to do with politics and must be delinked from the usual NDC/NPP ways of doing things.

Minister assures

The Savannah Regional Minister, Saeed Muhazu Jibril assured the Chiefs and people of Gonja that the Savanah Regional Coordinating Council would provide the needed task force to help stop the menace.

He said, the current administration would 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 would not be thrown out of business but would 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.

Abdul-Rauf Zion