The Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area in the Upper East Region, Naba Baba Salifu Alem-Yarim, has urged the government to take immediate steps to pass a legislation to empower chiefs to punish persons who willfully destroy the environment.
He appealed to chiefs through out the country to support the government in finding ways of combating the effects of climate change.
Naba Alem Yarim made the call at the 2016 celebration of the World Day to combat desertification and drought, on the theme: “Inclusive co-operation for achieving land degradation neutrality,’’ with the slogan “Protect earth, restore land, engage people,’’ at Bongo.
According to him “Chiefs are custodians of the land and are mandated to protect and preserve the environment.
“Unfortunately, however, it has come to the notice of chiefs that in the name of democracy, the powers that chiefs had in the past to punish those who degraded the environment have been taken away from them, rendering them toothless,” Naba Alem Yarim lamented.
He said “This issue has been compounded by the pronouncement by a Judge in this country to the effect that one can refuse to respond to a call from a chief, further weakening the authority of chiefs.”
Naba Alem Yarim said the call by President John Mahama for the need for the establishment of environment courts in the country should be implemented, to curb the destruction of the environment.
The paramount chief said the setting up of such courts could deter people from felling trees, setting bush fires, illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey,’ thereby destroying the environment
Professor Vincent Kojo Nartey, chairman of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) governing board, urged stakeholders to collaborate and protect the environment.
From A. A. Mbord, Bongo