Stop Charcoal Burning Or Perish” – Minister

Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, the Upper West Regional Minister, has asked people in the Sissala West District to either stop charcoal burning or perish in the near future.

     He said the livelihood of the people, depended on agriculture and expressed regret at the wanton destruction of trees for charcoal production, adding that, such acts causes climate change and desertification and affects food production.

     Alhaji Sulemana said charcoal production had become a lucrative business in the district, with several individuals becoming charcoal contractors and providing a ready market for the commodity.

     He said it was sad that many people in the district were involved in the business because of the guaranteed markets, and warned that if the indiscriminate felling of trees, including economic ones for charcoal production was not stopped, sooner or later, “the onetime food basket of the region would become the hunger basket”.

     Alhaji Sulemana expressed these at the “Gandawi Naabahilime” festival of the chiefs and people of the Gandawi Traditional Area in the Sissala West District at Sorbelle, over the weekend.

    The festival was on the theme: “Promoting peace and unity for development through our shared culture”.

     The Regional Minister called on stakeholders, such as the traditional rulers, the Forestry Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, District Assemblies and the District Police Command to join forces to nip the activities of persons involved in charcoal burning in the bud.

     He also urged people of the communities to report those involved in the indiscriminate felling of tress to the police to save the environment.

     Alhaji Sulemana urged the people to work together to ensure that there was peace in the communities to attract the much needed development they had been yearning for.

     He urged them to use festivals to promote patriotism and values that could bring about unity.

     Kuoro Issifu Kajia Navei, the Chief of Sorbelle appealed to the authorities to rehabilitate the roads in the area to facilitate the movement of goods and services,  as well as the provision of a small town water system and school infrastructure for the community.

     Kuoro Navei, who is also the acting president of the Gandawi Traditional Council, expressed concern about issues of land and chieftaincy in the area, which he said were worrying and needed to be addressed amicably to help sustain peace.

     The Sorbelle Kuoro appealed to the regional police command to consider establishing a police post at Sorbelle to deal with the incidence of armed robbery and criminal activities in the area, which is closer to neighbouring Burkina Faso.

     The “Gandawi” Festival is celebrated by the people in remembrance of the traditions and bravery of their ancestors and to rekindle in the youth, the traditional values of the Gandawi Clan.

    The celebration was characterized by traditional dance performances and merry making.