Empower traditional authorities to clamp down on illegal land use, harvesting of forest trees

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The Volta Regional House of Chiefs is advocating the development of a legal instrument to empower chiefs and traditional authorities to clamp down on illegalities in the use of lands and harvesting of forest trees.

Togbe Nakakpo Dugbaza VIII, Paramount Chief of Tefle Traditional Area and Member of the House, said the chiefs were “helpless” in tackling chain-saw operations in forests and other menace affecting resources in the area.

He said there was the need for the passage of some ordinances that give chiefs the power to institute enforcement measures against such menaces.

He was speaking at Ho yesterday during a meeting with the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor.

The meeting formed part of the Minister’s two-day tour of the Volta and Oti regions.

Stressing the need for a reviewed legal regime in the management of lands, Osie Adza Tekpor VII, Paramount Chief of Tefle Traditional Area, asked for the inclusion of another legislative instrument for the creation of stool lands in the region to be managed by the government. 

He urged government to assign reserve status for forests in the region which have been illegally harvested for years, to ensure the necessary protective measures were enforced.

In order to curtail potential land dispute in the region, he called for urgent demarcation of traditional boundaries. 

President of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs, Togbe Tepre Hodo IV, who is also the Paramount Chief of the Anfoega Traditional Area, noted the House’s commitment to deepening cooperation with government in the effective management of lands and other resources.

He said natural resources could be of huge importance to the country if it was well-managed and properly exploited, saying, “the Volta Regional House of Chiefs was focused on preventing illegal practices such as galamsey, that threatens the environment.”

On his part, Mr Jinapor reiterated the need for collaboration between government and the chiefs for enhanced prospecting and potential exploration of mineral resources in the region.

The Ministry, he pledged, would pay attention to advice and inputs from the House in the granting of concessions and permit for the use of lands.

He explained that as custodians of the area, the chiefs were critical to government’s plans to use the country’s natural resources for the benefit of the people.

So far, he said, the Ministry was working with the Ghana Boundary Commission to resolve growing dispute with Togo which directly impacted the Volta Region.



SOURCE: Nii Otu Dadeban Ankrah

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