Some of the logs that were found by the Forestry Commission staff when they invaded the forest
THE NKAWIE District Forestry Services Division (FSD), in the Ashanti Region, has impounded two trucks, a tractor and abandoned machines, belonging to some unknown illegal chain saw operators, who are fast depleting the Asenanyo Forest Reserve, the Nyame Bekyere portion, with their illegal activities.
No arrest has been made so far as the suspects, who strangely got wind of the operation, vanished into thin air and left their trucks and machines behind in the forest.
According to local mobile mechanics, the Ashanti Regional office of the Forestry Commission (FC) has consequently written to the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to investigate the matter so that owners of the seized vehicles and machines could be figured out and arrested. An office inquiry is also ongoing to determine possible involvement of any FC staff.
Some beneficiaries of a two-year intensive training course on proper ways to protect the forest in the area, organized by the Nature Development Foundation (NDF), a globally known environmental Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), detected the rot and reported it to the Nkawie FSD to take action.
Nana Poku Bosompim, the Nkawie District FSD Manager, told newsmen that two trucks, a tractor and machines were confiscated about a month ago following an operation by his outfit to get rid of all illegal logging activities and protect the forest and the environment, which started three months ago.
He said his office quickly rushed to the forest upon receiving a distress call from the NDF trainees who were residing close to the forest, adding that they realized that 12 hectares of the forest had been depleted by the culprits, who were nowhere to be found.
According to him, over 130 logs, with a market value of GH¢ 240,000, had been cut by the illegal loggers, adding that “upon investigations we traced them to Bibiani to confiscate the cars and machines”.
Nana Bosompim lamented that illegal logging have negative effects, including loss of revenue by the state, environmental degradation, river bodies being destroyed with its attendant problems, just to mention a few, urging all and sundry to assist the FC to prevent illegal loggings in forest reserves.
Glenn Asomaning, Operations Director of NDF, on his part, called on the BNI to conduct extensive investigations so that anyone who would be identified to have a link with the illegal logging would be arrested and punished severely according to the law to serve as deterrent to others.
FROM I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Nkawie, Ashanti