May 11, 2017, 11:59 AM
The Lower Fulladu West District Tribunal in the Central River Region recently convicted and sentenced two alkalos, Saidy Njie of Njie Kunda and Muhammed Bah of Sare Wureng village, and nine others, for violating the Forestry Act.
The nine others convicted are Samba Sey of Sinchu Samboudoul village, Demba Sidibeh, Ismalia Maiga, Samba Sidibeh, Bactch Dembel and Jawore Sey, all of Sinchu Yerro village, and Samba Sey and Musa Jallow, both of Njie Kunda village.
Mahammed Bah, the alkalo of Sare Wureng village, Saidy Njie, the alkalo of Njie Kunda, Dema Sedibeh and Ismalia Maiga, were each fined D2,500 in default to serve one year in prison, Samba Sedibeh, Batch Dembel and Jewore Sey were each fined D1,00O and Samba Sey was fined D2,000, in default to serve six months in prison.
The convicted persons were said to have been intercepted, on 24th June 2011, by the communities of Sare Wureng village and Faraba village, following an investigation made by the Forestry officers at the said areas, and were found with one hundred and twenty logs of “Keno” trees at the community forest.
They were then summoned by the regional forestry officer to the Lower Fulladu District Tribunal for violating the Forestry Act, where they admitted the offence and begged for the forgiveness of the tribunal.
In passing judgment, the chief of Lower Fulladu West, Momodou Lamin Baldeh, noted that the Alkalolu, in particular, should be more vigilant in their villages to stop unscrupulous people engaging in such acts, but they are the very people who are taking the lead in engaging in such illegal activities, adding that he has seen no reason why he should not give them a heavy sentence to serve as a deterrence to others.
Shortly after the verdict, the regional forestry officer in CRR North, Cherno Gaye, warned people to change their attitude toward the forest, adding that the forestry officers would continue to safeguard the country’s forest cover.
He also advised the community to participate fully in the protection of the forest, noting that they would not relent in their efforts until they achieve their aim and objective, which is the realization of a healthy forest cover.