By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Despite subsisting legislation against illegal tree felling in Niger State for charcoal making, the phenomenon is on the increase and the helpless state government is enlisting federal government’s intervention to curb the menace.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello said there was the urgent need for a national legislation against illegal deforestation, logging and felling of trees for fuel wood and charcoal making which are brisk business in Niger state.
The governor took his plea for federal intervention to the office of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe in Abuja where he lamented over the increase in tree felling by unscrupulous wood merchants and charcoal dealers.
He lamented that despite the existence of law against illegal activities of log wood merchants in the state, tree felling had not abated as heaps and pyramids of charcoal in sacks are common sites in parts of the state including in urban centres.
The governor, while seeking for prompt federal government’s intervention, stressed that there was the urgent need for a collaborative action against illegal tree felling for charcoal making which was fast deplating the forest in most parts of the state with it’s negative consequences on environment.
He warned that cutting down economic trees such as the Sheanut trees for charcoal making was a hydra headed problem as many people were secretly involved in the dangerous sabotage.
Niger state has the largest largest concentration of Sheanut trees which produces Sheabutter used by industries, pharmaceutical companies and cosmetic makers in Europe and America.
The Minister acknowledged the dangers in tree felling and the worrisome activities of wood merchants. He warned that desertification was on the increase in parts of the country just as he noted that the country was at the verge of being consumed by fast approaching desert.
He agreed that there was the need to have collaboration between states and federal governments to put down stronger legislation against illegal tree felling.