Apr 9, 2009, 5:56 AM
The chiefs of Wuli West and Sandu Districts in the Upper River Region have applauded the Minister of Forestry and Environment, Honorable Jatto Sillah for his nationwide tour.
Chiefs Alhagie Yusupha Jabby and Alhagie Jumu Bah, respectively, were speaking recently during a meeting with the Minister.
According to them, the visit of the Minister is an opportunity for local authorities and the communities to discuss issues pertaining to the promotion of forestry and environment.
Chief Bah said the importance of forest to the people cannot be over-emphasised, and then used the opportunity to call on all forest users to ensure that the forest is well- maintained and protected at all times.
For the Wuli West chief, the issue of bush fire is a cause for concern, and thus stressed the need for the issue to be addressed.
He urged farmers engage in clearing their farms for the rainy season to make fire belts so as to avoid bush fires.
The two chiefs urged their people to change their attitudes towards the forest and to avoid engaging in illegal activities in the forest.
They used the opportunity to appeal to the Minister of Forestry to help forest field staff with mobility to enhance their effectiveness.
He also advised the local communities to maintain forest cover and be vigilant against fire outbreak.
They said local authorities are concerned with the attitudes of people in terms of extinguishing bush fires, urging that the residents should do away with "I don't care attitude."
They emphasised that protecting the forest would be of great benefit to the community, as according to them, tourists will use it.
For his part, Honourable Jatto Sillah expressed delight at the hospitality accorded to them. This, he noted, is a clear indication that the people of the area have regards for him and the delegation.
He further advised the local authorities not to compromise with anyone on the issue of deforestation and bush fire.
Minister Sillah told the people of the region that President Jammeh is very much concerned with the protection and preservation of the environment.
He then urged the people of Upper River Region to be vigilant in their area to ensure that their forest and environment are well protected.
Honourable Sillah asserted that protecting our forest is a collective responsibility of all and sundry.