The Niger state Task Force on forest exploitation on Wednesday auctioned 500 bags of charcoal confiscated from dealers of the commodity in the state, according to Alhaji Ahmed Matane, Secretary to the State Government.
Matane, who was at the auction in Minna, warned that government would not hesitate to deal decisively with anyone caught engaged in indiscriminate felling of trees for charcoal and timber, thereby causing desertification in the state.
Matane explained that soil erosion, desertification and land degradation were some of the challenges faced by the people as a result of the indiscriminate felling of trees, adding that the act of felling trees in the name of charcoal and timber was a threat to the community.
He pointed out that in spite of several efforts by the government in fighting the practice, a few unscrupulous elements were undermining such efforts.
The secretary to the government added that government would not rest on its oars in ensuring the full protection of forests in the state.
Matane solicited the support of traditional rulers, community leaders and other stakeholders in combating the menace and commended the efforts of the Task Force for a great job.
He urged the Ministry of Environment and the task force to intensify their effort towards putting an end to the unfortunate practice, while assuring them of government’s continued support and cooperation to succeed.
The Coordinator, Niger State Task Force on Forest Exploitation, Saidu Alfa, said that the act of felling trees to produce charcoal remained a threat to the society, but expressed optimism that under the present administration the culture would be fought accordingly.
He revealed that the commodity would be auctioned to the general public at N1, 000 per bag, stressing that the money realized would be handed over to the Board of Internal Revenue. (NAN)