As an emerging robust youth environmental movement in Ghana, the Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) only finds it ethical to add our voice to the controversies surrounding the alleged illegal logging occurring at Mole National Park.
Within the past few weeks, we have followed and recorded baffling and underwhelming inconsistencies of the true state of one of the country’s most treasured forest and wild life reserve, Mole National Park, reported by various sectors including media and government institutions. These are as follows:
1. A publication on MyJoy Online on April 12, 2013, with the title, ‘Mole Park “ripped apart” by illegal chainsaw operations’. This report confirmed illegal logging at Mole Park by locals and their Chinese counterparts;
2. A publication on GhanaWeb on April 14, 2013, with the title, ‘We will stop illegal lumbering in Northern Regions- Inusah Fuseini’. This report quoted the sector Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, to confirm that the issue of logging within the “precincts” of Mole National Park is affecting the natural habitat of the animals and as such the need to tackle the issue with the needed urgency and attention;
3. A midday news item carried by Joy Fm on April 15, 2013, that unequivocally denied illegal logging at Mole National Park and by extension disregarding their own publication on their website stated at point (1) above;
4. A publication on April 15, 2013, on GhanaWeb with the title, ‘STATEMENT: No Logging at Mole National Park’. This publication having its source from the Park Manager of Mole National Park also denied the alleged illegal logging and indicated that those publications “are not only misleading but somehow mischievous”; and
5. A fresh publication on MyJoy Online on April 28, 2013, with title, ‘Govt orders arrest and prosecution of illegal loggers’. This publication indicated that government is aware of the illegal logging in Mole National Park and that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources led by the Minister has directed the Forest Commission “to post guards to all forest reserves “to stop this practice” and “prosecute those who will harvest the trees.”
It is very interesting and discouraging also to note that in the midst of all the above inconsistencies, there hasn’t been a single official press statement from stakeholders like the Ministry of Environment, Science & Technology (MEST), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Forest Commission to inform the general public of the true state of affairs and provide the needed assurance on the issue.
Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) has however stood tall in this matter and treated it with all urgency and all manner of passion and love for the environment. In the past 3 weeks, we have launched a social media campaign to save Mole Park by collecting petitions on change.org meant to campaign for an end to the illegal logging and lumbering, not just at the Mole National Park but all areas of forest vegetation that has to be preserved for sustainability. (http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/save-the-mole-national-park-stop-the-illegal-felling-of-trees).
It is very sad and unfortunate that at this very crucial moment, it is very difficult to trust all the various sectors above who have been involved in reporting, publishing and speaking on this issue of grave magnitude that not only just threaten the future of young people but also our children and grandchildren.
Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) wishes to assure our members, volunteers, supporters, all friends and lovers of the environment and the general Ghanaian public that we have taken up the challenge to conduct our own investigations and delve into the depth of this issue with all passion and persistence; and in good time, we would bring to light the true state of Mole National Park.
We thank everyone in the public who has maintained keen interest in this matter, especially all of you who signed our petition to Save Mole National Park. GYEM will continue with our efforts through campaigns to protect the environment and fight all forms of illegal logging irrespective of where they occur in Ghana.
By Steering Group (GYEM)
Tel: 0243 833 420/ 0244 951 828/ 0233 733 933
Cc: Forestry Commission
Ministry of Lands & Natural Resources
Ministry of Environment, Science & Technology
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Joy Fm/ MyJoy Online
Peace Fm/ Peace Online