An emerging concern in some parts of the Upper West Region which has come to worsen the already dwindling vegetative cover of the region is the rampant harvesting of the rosewood tree.
Perennial bushfires and commercial charcoal burning are two negative practices that have already left the vegetative cover of the region in a very fragile state needing a robust afforestation intervention.
Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, Upper West Regional Minister, speaking during the Regional Coordinating Council meeting, said the act was being perpetuated by some foreigners with the collaboration of some members of the affected communities.
“It is our people that are cutting the wood and selling to the foreigners including Chinese contractors”, he said citing Sissala West, Sissala East, Wa West and Wa East as the affected districts in the region.
Alhaji Sulemana said it is the intention of his outfit in collaboration with the Municipal and District Assemblies to stop the illegal practice in the region.
He said the Regional Manager of the Forestry Commission (FC) had recently issued a directive suspending all rosewood operations in the region.
The Regional Minister called on District Assemblies and traditional authorities including the FC to ensure the enforcement of the directive so as to preserve the rosewood tree.
Another problem, Alhaji Sulemana expressed worry, was about the high prevalence rate of early marriages in some districts in the region, saying victims of these unfortunate marriages usually have their education truncated and were forced to become early parents.
He said a recent survey conducted by ActionAid Ghana in the Sissala East, Jirapa and Lambussie-Karni Districts painted a gloomy picture in so far as marriages of minors; especially innocent teenage girls were concerned.
The Regional Minister also bemoaned poor parental care and neglect of children, saying it was very common to see several children of school going age roaming on the streets with some of them undertaking menial jobs or doing nothing.
“It is even worse seeing some of these children loitering about in the night as if they are parentless and homeless. These children obviously are predisposed to getting involved in crime at very early ages”, he said.
Alhaji Amidu called on District Assemblies, traditional authorities and the Regional House of Chiefs to come together to find a common ground for addressing this social concern.
He said as stakeholders in the region, they must all join forces to safeguard their future and provide the right environment for their growth and development.
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