The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has urged the Forestry Commission, to step up the fight against illegal logging to protect Ghana’s forest cover from further destruction. He said much more needed to be done to halt the wanton destruction of forest reserves and charged the Commission to strictly enforce the laws to stem the bad practice.

Otumfuo made the observation when a delegation from the Forestry Commission led by its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, paid a courtesy call on him at the Manhyia Palace on Wednesday.

The delegation was at the palace to pay homage to the Asante King, who sat in state to receive visitors in commemoration of the Awukudae (one of the sacred days on the Asante calendar).

It was also to pledge the commitment of the Commission to the Lake Bosomtwe Landscape Restoration Project, being implemented by the Otumfuo in collaboration with Oheneba Poku Foundation.

The project seeks to plant 2.5 million trees over a five-year period in the Lake Bosomtwe basin, Ghana’s only natural lake, while contributing to climate change mitigation efforts in the country.

Otumfuo said it was unacceptable for people to plunder the forests with impunity and charged the Forestry Commission to take stringent steps to fight the menace.

He said in other jurisdictions, it was a great offense to cut a tree without authority due to how they valued the importance of trees to the environment.

He commended the Commission for their interest in the Lake Bosomtwe Project which, he said, was very dear to his heart because of the potential to restore the Lake to its glorious past.

The Asantehene directed the Commission to liaise with the Amakomhene, Nana Adu Mensah Asare, who is the Chairman of the implementation Committee to determine when to plant the first tree to signify the commencement of the project.

Mr Owusu-Afriyie said the project was in line with the afforestation programmes being pursued by the Commission, hence it was worth supporting.

He said the Commission would produce all the 2.5 million seedlings required for the project and also deploy its staff under the Youth in Afforestation Programme to hasten the planting exercise.

Additionally, the National Plantation Board would also produce 500,000 seedlings to support the project, he stated.