Traditional authorities in the Wa East District have expressed worry about the activities of some companies which have invaded the communities, and are indiscriminately felling trees for commercial purposes.
A spokesman for the chiefs, Naa Abu Salia Bafarodo, shared the frustration and lamentation of the people at the first ordinary meeting of the Assembly at Funsi.
The contractors who are allegedly holding documents from the Ghana Forestry Authority, come to the communities with articulator trucks and chainsaw machines, to cut valuable trees and pay between 500 and 600 Ghana Cedis to community members for a container full of timber or 100 pieces of trees felled.
Naa Salia said the action of the contractors was detrimental to the growth and development of agriculture in the district particular, and the region as a whole.
He accused the Ghana Forestry Authority in the region for negligence, and allowing illegal people to fell trees in an area which was already a savanna zone.
The Kulkpong –Naa also accused the central government of doing little to save people in the communities whose livelihood depended on agriculture.
“Central government has also neglected the chiefs who can handle situations better at their localities”, he said.
Mr. Isaac Adonteng, Upper West Regional Manager of the Ghana Forestry Authority, said the Authority had not given any license or permit to any company or individual to cut trees for commercial purposes in the region.
Mr Adonteng, however, confirmed that the Ghana Forestry Authority had given license to some specific companies to collect logs that were harvested, adding that these logs had not been collected due to a one-year ban on the export of logs.
“Ghana Forestry Authority has not given any company or group of people to cut fresh trees as to what is happening in the communities right now.”
He said his notice had been drawn to the trees felling from several communities, indicating that the act was widespread across the region.
The Regional Forestry Manager gave the assurance that the Authority would liaise with the security agencies in the region to bring the situation under control.
Mr Adonteng, however, blamed some community members for conniving with the perpetrators of the act.
The Wa East District Assembly has since formed a seven-member committee tasked to flush out these people from the communities.
The Wa East, Sissala East and Sissala West Districts, have been invaded by these alleged timber contractors felling trees indiscriminately for commercial purposes.
There is a huge public outcry about the activities of these contractors, and if care is not taken, there is the likelihood that community members will take the law into their own hands. GNA