By Bala Ajiya
In a bid to protect the environment and preserve natural resources in Yobe state , the state government has set up a Task Force to check illegal tree felling as well as production and transportation of fresh wood and charcoal.
The Ministry of Environment has been grappling with the menace of deforestation , in about 12 local governments out of the 17 local governments of the state.
The Task Force was saddled with the responsibilities of arresting and confiscation of fresh wood and charcoal from defaulters and possible prosecution at the court of law to serve as deterrent to others .
The forest managing officer of the Ministry of Environment , Audi Abubakar , while speaking with Vanguard in his office Thursday in Damaturu lamented the illegal activities of the wood poachers , saying that with the task force in place, the wood poachers had devised another means of carrying out their illegal activities thereby evading arrest from the security operatives .
He explained that the Task Force has the power to arrest the defaulters and seize the fresh wood and the charcoal which will then be auctioned and the money remitted to the account of the state Board of Internal Revenue.
Audu Abubakar also said that most of the defaulters have not desisted from this illegal wood poaching , because the punishment meted out to them was too mild .
“Immediately you arrest and seize the charcoal and fresh wood from the defaulters, they would go back to the bush and continue felling other trees and this is because they are not prosecuted in the court of law We have an obsolete law in place, that is why we are not taking any defaulters to court, because the existing law does not provide for jail them but rather payment of a little fine which will then encourage them to go back to the illegal activity “ he said