The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Samuel Abu Jinapor, has directed officials of the three main agencies under the ministry in the Northern Region to take practical steps to end encroachment on forest reserves and public lands in the region.
He observed that per their constitutional mandates, the Minerals Commission, the Lands Commission and the Forestry Commission were key sector agencies that must help to preserve state lands and protect the country’s natural resources from destruction.
The minister made that call during a meeting with the officials of those agencies yesterday October (4) at the Northern Regional Coordinating Council.
Mr. Jinapor, who is leading a delegation from the Lands and Natural Resources ministry on a one-week tour of the five regions in northern Ghana urged officials of the Office of Administrator of Stool Lands (OASL), Forestry, Lands and Minerals Commissions to stand firm and live up to their constitutional mandate.
He appealed to them to work together with the Regional Minister and the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) to bring an end to the menace of encroachments on state lands, illegal mining and deforestation.
Particularly, he asked them to deal with the encroachment on public lands immediately to prevent it from escalating into a national problem like that of the small-scale illegal mining.
“The matter to do with the encroachment of forest reserves in Tamale is a matter we have to deal with and deal with forcefully.
“We are told and it's very evident that the forest reserves in the Tamale Metropolis are being encroached upon, we cannot permit that,” he added.
The Minister further stated that very soon the Regional Security Council was going to map out strategies to clear all the encroachers along the forest reserves to ensure the sustainability of Tamale.
He explained that as the parent region out of which three new regions had been birthed, the functions and operations of the Northern Regional agencies needed to show leadership to the new regions.
Mr. Jinapor observed that with Tamale fast turning into the center of commerce for North Africa, there was the need to preserve the public lands of Tamale and the Northern Region at large.
He also assured them of interventions underway to ensure the welfare issues of the agencies were ironed out.
As part of those interventions, the minister disclosed that in the coming month, the government would launch the Shea Plantation Scheme which would ensure the injection of some huge capital into the forestry sector.