The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has declared that the government will supply the Forestry Commission with the tools needed to combat unlawful mining in forest reserves.
Mr. Jinapor stated that bulletproof vests and weapons will be provided to fight illegal miners, commonly known as ‘galamseyers,’ who have been causing destruction to water bodies.
The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources disclosed this on Wednesday, 24 May 2023 during the commissioning of an ultra-modern office complex for the Eastern Regional Forestry Commission.
The facility, comprised of thirteen offices, a conference room, a kitchenette and a reception will help the Regional Forestry Commission execute its mandate in the seven forest districts in the region.
Addressing the gathering at the event in Koforidua, the Minister touched on the impact of climate change on the country and the world at large.
He said government, aware of the dire consequences of climate change has taken decisive and far-reaching forest-protection policies which are anchored on two important pillars – aggressive afforestation and reforestation and protection of the existing forest cover of the country.
A feature of the aggressive afforestation module, Mr. Jinapor explained is the Green Ghana project which is the flagship afforestation program of the government. With the 2023 edition of the Green Ghana Project set for June 9, the Lands Minister leveraged on the opportunity to rally Ghanaians towards the event.
Laying emphasis on the grave situation the world finds itself in with respect to the impact of climate change, the Minister appealed to Ghanaians to participate in the event which he is certain will enable the country to recover a significant size of its lost forestry cover and contribute to global efforts towards reducing climate change.
“Government’s policy in respect of the forestry sector of the country is anchored on two main pillars. The first one is our strategy of aggressive afforestation and reforestation. By this, we are talking about restoring the forest cover of our country. The statistics tell us that from 1902 till date, we’ve lost some 80% of our forest cover in our country, and therefore it is the policy and strategy of government to be involved in reafforestation and reforestation which is why several initiatives have been put in place including several interventions in forestry areas in our country to ensure that we plant more trees. That is why on June 9, 2023, we are going to have the President lead the country to plan 10 million trees which will take us to 30 million plus trees since 2021”, he stated.
“The second strategy is to protect the existing forest cover of our country. Whiles we are planting trees, we need to have a policy and program which will ensure that existing forests are well-protected. That is why I want to believe that the intervention by government to provide office spaces for the forestry commission of Eastern Region will aid and help protect the 48 forest reserves in the region,” he added.
Whiles commending the Forestry Commission of the Eastern Region for the magnificent edifice, Hon. Jinapor assured them of the support of government to fight all forms of illegalities in the forest reserves without fear or favour. He tasked them to execute their mandate with the confidence and zeal that they have the utmost backing of President Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the office of the Minister of Lands and the government at large.
The Minister disclosed that government will continue to provide support in the areas of logistics, welfare, equipment, personnel, and capacity building, among others to enable the commission to discharge its duties to perfection.
“Officials of the Forestry Commission have the support of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to discharge your mandate without fear or favour. Protect the forest reserves of our country, protect them from all intruders, be it illegal miners, cocoa farmers or illegal loggers,” he said.
Mr. John Allotey, the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission revealed some major details about the building which was constructed by Bonzies Construction Limited.
He expressed optimism that the new office will enable the management and staff in the region to provide adequate protection of the forest reserves in the region.
Mr Allotey also provided an update on preparations for the Green Ghana Day, explaining that all seedlings needed for the project have been acquired.