Timber companies in cameroon
Two German-based researchers have petitioned the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to probe allegations of administrative negligence, failure, and omissions committed by officers of the Forestry Commission of the Enchi district in the Western Region.
The two; Sulemana Issifu and Dr Jacob Sarfo in their petition alleged that the Enchi Forestry Commission officers failed to execute their mandate by allowing illegal miners to destroy and pillage the Tano Aniwa Forest which they say contravenes the Forestry Commission Act (571) and must therefore be punished.
They are demanding that the alleged negligence of the forestry officers be probed to establish the truth or otherwise, with the appropriate sanctions recommended thereafter.
In their petition, the urged “CHRAJ [to] investigate the conduct of the officers of the Forestry Commission to establish the truth or otherwise within the remit of article 218 (b) of the 1992 constitution and other relevant laws.”
Below is the full petition.
1. We are citizens of the Republic of Ghana, currently domicile in Germany, and collectively have expertise in microbial ecology, agroecology, sustainable agriculture, climate change, and plant-microbe interaction. We are also the Directors of Research for the Ghanaian-based not-for-profit organisation, Centre for Climate Change and Food Security.
2. Cognizant of our responsibilities under article 41 of 1992 constitution, we invoke your investigative powers under article 218 (b) and bring forth this petition against officers of the Forestry Commission of the Enchi district in the Western Region of Ghana for administrative negligence, failure, and omissions.
3. Per the Forestry Commission Act (571), the commission is mandated to protect all forest reserves against destruction, illegal exploitation, pillage, and desecration.
4. This petition is triggered because it is our belief that officers of the Forestry Commission in the Enchi district have failed to discharge their responsibilities as particularised under point 3 supra.
5. Our accusation is based on a news report filed by multimedia journalist and Ghana Journalists Association’s journalist of the year, Mr. Erastus Asare Donkor. Refer to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjy1Y-FSlwA.
6. Briefly, the report reveals chilling details of monumental destruction of the Tano Aniwa forest by illegal miners while officers of the commission sat by, though according to the report, they were fully aware of the environmental carnage of the forest but decided to countenance it. By this, if proven to be true, they would have violated their oaths of office, and neglected their responsibilities, making their conduct investigable to establish the facts surrounding their conduct.
7. For context, the Tano Anwia forest is one of the most important biodiversity areas of not just Ghana, but the world. The forest is home to very rare and important organisms, including birds, granting it international recognition. Refer to https://www.keybiodiversityareas.org/site/factsheet/6330.
8. For further context, galamsey is an ungodly act that has beset our country, threatening our very existence as a country as it destroys and poisons the very things that sustain human lives such as the soil, water, plants, and the ecosystem as a collective. Many experts, including myself, have sounded the alarm about impending catastrophe if this trajectory continues. Refer https://www.myjoyonline.com/sulemana-issifu-galamsey-a-looming-ecological-catastrophe/
9. We contend that time is rife for every state institution, including CHRAJ to use its powers to assist to tame this demon called galamsey, before our beloved country gets extinct. In this regard, all state institutions sleeping on the job must answer for their negligence before competent bodies like CHRAJ.
10. Consequently, we demand as follows:
a. CHRAJ investigate the conduct of the officers of the Forestry Commission to establish the truth or otherwise within the remit of article 218 (b) of the 1992 constitution and other relevant laws;
b. if 10 (b) supra is true, CHRAJ investigate if their conduct is animated by corruption and other malfeasances;
c. CHRAJ impose sanctions, where necessary and applicable.
11. In conclusion, we believe CHRAJ has both the power and responsibility to join the fight against the ungodly act of galamsey, and that, this will be the first step to exercising that power and responsibility for the safety of ourselves and the next generation.
12. We are ready to assist CHRAJ to get to the bottom of this matter should we be called upon and look forward to hearing from you soon on this grave matter of national character.
13. Accept our assurances of the highest order.