Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State has set up a Task Force to curb illegal tree felling and charcoal production in the state.
The Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Isiaka Gold, who disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday, said the establishment of the task force followed Governor Ahmed’s assent to the amendment Bill prohibiting the production, transportation, storage or sale of charcoal in the state.
According to the SSG, the task force has as members representatives from Director Forestry, Ministry of Environment and Forestry; Chairman and Assistant Director (Administration), Ministry of Environment and Forestry; Secretary.
Others are representative of Commissioner of Police, Nigeria Police Force, Kwara State, representative of Department of State Services (DSS) and representative of the State commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence corps (NSCDC).
Furthermore, the statement noted that among the terms of operation for the Force are, ‘ensuring compliance with the provisions of section 2 of the Charcoal Production (prohibition law) which stipulates the revocation of all permits, licenses earlier granted to any person of body of persons before the commencement of the Law.
Others are ‘to ensure intensive public sensitization on the necessity of the law, especially its intent to discourage both the producers and end users of charcoal due to its negative impact on the climate (climate change) and as a channel for the waste of viable economic trees and also assist all assigned government officials, through collaboration, towards putting a total stop to felling of trees for the production of charcoal.
Alhaji Gold added that the terms also include ‘setting in motion all necessary modalities for the successful prosecution of offenders in conjunction with the State Ministry of Justice as a deterrent to offenders and to discourage would-be breakers of the law.
He added that the Charcoal Production Prohibition law vested the power of arrest of offenders on members of the Police force, forest officers or protection staff and any other persons authorised by any other law.