Ekiti, Borno plan laws to curb illegal tree felling

By FROM IFEDAYO SAYO, ADO-EKITI AND NJADVARA MUSA, MAIDUGURI   |   02 May 2010   |   10:00 pm  
EKITI and Borno State governments have taken a hard stance on illegal tree fellers, who have contributed to deforestation and worsening effects of climate change in the states. In Ekiti State, the State Executive Council has resolved to ensure that culprit in the state are made to face the wrath of the law while tree fellers including firewood merchants in Borno State are to go for a jail term of five years, after the bill on illegal felling of trees was passed by the State House of Assembly.

Speaking on the outcome of State Executive Council meeting, the State Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mr. Taiwo Olatunbosun, said the Oni-led administration was determined to block all financial drain-pipes in the state.

Olatunbosun who added that a Forest Guard Volunteers Group would soon be established towards ensuring proper forest preservation, said that the state government has also promised to pay commission to anyone who assist to arrest culprits involved in illegal tree felling.

Meanwhile, the Borno State government said it would not fold its arms while the entire state was being consumed by desertification with the massive felling of trees for firewood and huts construction, Governor Ali Sheriff has declared.

Sheriff made the declarations in Maiduguri before the Commissioner of Environment, Kadiri Kaza’a and the 27 council chairmen, while addressing them on the measures the state government has taken to check desertification and its encroachment on farmlands, water points and Grazing Reserves.

The declarations of five-year jail term by the governor, was as a result of the massive felling of trees in Bama, Konduga, Damboa and Gwoza council areas with countless heaps of firewood on all the roads he plied during the two-day working visits.

He lamented that if such drastic measures were not taken, the entire state would be wiped off of any vegetation that farmers and pastoralists rely on for their livelihoods and livestock.

He said all the licences issued by some local government chairmen to firewood merchants, are however, revoked with immediate effect, while council chairmen are warned against issuing such fire wood permits to any individual or groups of people under the guise of making a living from selling firewood.

The governor while issuing the directives on illegal felling of trees, however, failed to provide an alternative means to firewood for cooking, heating and thatching of local huts and tents.

He said: “The bill on illegal felling of trees in the state has been presented to the house, for legislators’ prompt deliberations, considerations and final passage into law for implementation before the second half of this year.”



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