Tamale forest reserves, parklands under threat
Forest Reserves and parklands in the Tamale Metropolis are under serious threat as some private developers have encroached upon them.
Some squatters have put up structures including car washing bases, drinking spots, shops as well as buildings along the reserves.
The reserves, which could be developed into tourist attraction sites and a place for relaxation, have also been turned into a refuse dump and places of convenience.
The indiscriminate dumping of refuse, human excreta and felling of the trees are gradually pushing the forest reserves into extinction.
On a daily basis, a number of residents are spotted parking their cars and motorcycles by the road sides and defecating in the reserves.
Checks by the Daily Graphic showed that the Ninsanlegbini reserve, Gumani Fuelwood plantation, Kogni plantation and the Waterworks reserves have all been encroached on.
For instance, portions of the Waterworks reserves located along the Tamale-Kumbungu road are said to have been sold to private developers by some unknown persons.
Earmarked as a reserved area in 1935, it is the main water basin in the metropolis.
Worsening climate change
The Northern Regional Manager of the Forestry Commission, Mr Bernard Tabil, in a recent interview, expressed worry about the situation and said clearing parts of the forest would worsen the climate change situation in the region.
He indicated that the development on the reserves could block the water channels and result in devastating floods.
"We know the importance of trees, they have a lot of values especially with regard to protecting the environment and that place is low land where when it rains, all the rains come there, so by developing that area into a residential place, you know the effects of future flooding which will come within the area” he noted.
While expressing the Commission's resolve to flush out all the encroachers in the coming days Mr Tabil appealed to the various stakeholders to support them to protect the environment.
In October 2021, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor. during his tour of the region, tasked the Forestry Commission and the Lands Commission to work out modalities to flush out encroachers on forest reserves in the metropolis.
“We are told and it’s very evident that the forest reserves in the Tamale metropolis are being encroached upon.
We cannot permit that. I am counting on your support for us to come to grips to deal with this matter,” he stated.
"A city without a forest reserve is not a city that is sustainable and these reserves have been in Choogu and several other places for years and suddenly we are finding washing base, people constructing houses and blue kiosks. That kind of trend cannot be allowed “ he added.