By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.
To give bite to his earlier warning against tree felling for commercial purposes in all parts of the state, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State Wednesday raised further hurdles to stem the practice of charcoal making with logs of wood from it’s forest and bushlands.
A task force team is now in place made up of high calibre senior government officials headed by the Secretary to the State Government, a Commissioner and the state’s Chief Forestry Officer along with zonal supervisory officials who are empowered to prosecute defaulters.
Security personell and forestry vanguards from the state Ministry of Forest and Environment are equally members of the task force to ensure protection of the forest and trees in all parts of the state.
Henceforth, anyone caught felling trees particularly economic tress such a the Shea nuts trees, Locus bean trees, Mango trees amongst others, would be prosecuted.
Governor Bello said all licences for tree felling and logging for commercial purposes have been revoked hencewith.
While innaugrating the task force at the Government House on Wednesday, the Governor said henceforth, the sell of charcoal is banned in all parts of the state.
The Governor lamented that the forest parts of the state were being depleted by all manner of persons who invade the state to cut down trees for charcoal making business and ferry them out.
He said intelligence reports had shown that the trees in parts of the state were being endangered by tree loggers and charcoal merchants who come from other states to porch the trees.
Governor Bello said the practice was exposing several parts of the state to deforestation with it’s negative consequences on the environment as exporters of charcoal have made the state a haven for charcoal merchandise.
He said several heartless persons from some neighboring states have made the state a thriving charcoal making point as a business where they pay peanuts to locals and cut down trees recklessly and burn them to make charcoal and export them abroad.
The Governor said revoking the licence for tree logging and felling have become imperative to curtail the dangerous practice that has made the state a huge charcoal city.
He lamented that in almost every part of the state, bags and sacks of charcoal in heaps are on display for sale, a development he decried and stressed that it must be checked.
He said following the ban and outlawing of tree felling, it was incumbent to follow it up with the setting up of the task force committee to enforce compliance and arrest the development to save the state from the effects of global warming.
Secretary to the State Government and Commissioner for Environment are the dual Chairmen of the task force committee, while senior forest officials from the Ministry of Forest and Environment are designated to take charge of the various zones of the state to enforce compliance and orderliness.