As part of measures to protect the forest from illegal loggers, the Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, has announced his outfit would employ a more ruthless approach in fighting illegal logging of trees in the Sefwi area.
According to him, the Commission is engaging the services of military men, who will be instructed to shoot at persons found to be depleting the country’s forest.
This is a worrying news coming from the CEO of the Commission. The former General Secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), has not departed from his loose talks days, when he was the chief scribe of the NPP.
Sir John, as he is affectionately called, needs reorientation, Ghana is governed by laws and as such anybody, who flouts or goes contrary to our laws, must be made to face the full rigours of the law and that can only be done in a competent court of jurisdiction.
There is no denying the fact the damage this illegal loggers and galamsey operators are causing to our forest, but to throw caution to the wind and order the military to shoot illegal loggers and chainsaw operators, is going too far.
We have witnessed in the past the extent to which military men, can go, when a shoot to kill order is giving. We cannot go back to the dark days, where lawlessness, was used to address lawlessness.
This newspaper is persuaded to point out that this directive, if employed, will be too bad for the country.
Consistently, over the years, the country has continued to adopt quick fixes out of every possible problem.
The illegal loggers and chainsaw operators will still not be engaging in the activity, with impunity, unless they are some politicians and big men behind them.
We are of the opinion that, the Forestry Commission, should appeal to the Chief Justice to set up special courts, to deal with illegal loggers and chainsaw operators.
Those found culpable should not be treated leniently; they should be given the maximum sentences possible to serve us deterrent to others.
It will serve no useful purpose to order the military to shoot and kill.