Press Statement: Military Deployment And Onward Brutalities Meted Out To The Good People In Western North
PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY NPP IN WESTERN NORTH CONSTITUENCIES CONCERNING THE MILITARY DEPLOYMENT AND ONWARD BRUTALITIES METED OUT TO THE GOOD PEOPLE IN WESTERN NORTH ON 25TH SEPTEMBER, 2018
Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the press.We appreciate your time and prompt response to our short invitation. We have converged here to look at problems that have cropped up owing to the Unannounced joint military and forestry task force operation visited on the people in the saw mill and carpentry businesses. Let it be known that, we do not support the activities of illegal chain saw operation which is destroying our forest.What we dont endorse is the rambo style that was adopted by the military.
We have restrained ourselves from going this tangent, but the wanton destruction, theft and brutalities which borders on criminality have spurred us on to voice our reservation as a party. Our fear as a party is that,this exercise which was done bereft of fairness and human feeling, may sink us back to position of utter loss in votes come 2020 elections. Ladies and gentlemen of the press, we took cognizance of the impending possible occurrence of a clash between the carpenters and forestry task force on assumption of power in 2017. Our deduction then stemmed from the refusal of the various saw mills within the catchment area to honour their mandatory 30% sale in the local market. At that time, timber compartments were in the hands of few privileged NDC sympathisers. Where then do you expect the local carpenters to get wood to work?. Answer to this question is the reason why the party sent a petition for equitable distribution of compartment which was duly signed by the chairmen and secretaries in Western North. Copies of the petition were sent to the following offices; Office of the chief of staff; Office of the National chairman of NPP; Ministry of lands and natural resources; forestry commission; Office of the western Regional chairman of NPP. All these calls were not responded to.
To the shock of the party, twenty eight(28) forest compartments and additional eleven (11)were released to Mr Boison, a known NDC financier in western region who was already abusing the law on 30% local sales. why will Sir John award all these compartments to a single person whilst hundreds of NPP applicants request are in vain? This smacks corruption and underhand dealings. It is also instructive to note that, when the NDC came to power in 2009,forest compartments that were in the hands of NPP sympathisers were taking and giving to NDC faithfuls.
The party was therefore at a great shock when one hundred and forty(140) military men were deployed together with Charles Owusu and his cohorts in a rambo style to seize tools and finished products of ordinary carpenters. During the operation vanguard, there was a moratorium on the activities of those in Galamsey business. The war on galamsey was not fought in the workhops of goldsmith, so it is against this backdrop that, we are not in support of the the seizure of items of mere carpenters. Ladies and gentlemen of the press One major question we need to be asking ourselves is that, Why would military detachment that is out for a joint operation take residence at the house of a known NDC financier in the western region who is also C.E.O of Midwest Construction Limited . Therefore, we are not surprised that, this operation was premised on premeditation. Is it also not intriguing that, not a single round log was confiscated during the operation but rather items of artisans. A million question awaits the person who sanctioned the operation of the task force. Why would one hundred(140) and forty military men be deployed together with a helicopter in such a regard just to cause fear and panic?. We hold the reasonable conviction that, the military decided to connive with NDC bigwigs to sabotage the government. Moreover, Why will military and forest task force be seizing tools of poor carpentry artisans when the perpetrators of the actual crime of illegal chain saw operations are in the forest? This in our estimation as a party could only be for extortion purposes.
The inhumane treatment meted out to the people also smacks bad faith. We as a party, least expected these nightmares during their operations; seizure of tools of carpenters; dismantling of saw mills, looting of lumbers duly acquired from the forestry commission itself as well as finished products from carpenters.
The most awful, barbaric and wicked of all was the arrest of people on the street, who were not connected in anyway to the lumbering industry. These people were forced to carry heavy "beams" against their will semblenc to war
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, at this juncture it will suffice to ask these questions;
- what is the quantum of lumbers that were confiscated?
- where were they kept?
- what is the amount of money realised from the sale of seized lumber
- what percentage of the amount realised from the sale of the lumber is going into the kitty of the district assemblies.?
We are baffled with these questions because, the leaders of the operation namely, Charles Owusu and Martin Bonye have arrogated to themselves the first option to buy the seized lumbers through their surrogates. How can someone( Martin Bonye) who owns a forest compartment, Saw Mill at Sefwi Kofikrom and is into door business lead forestry task force operations? Ladies and gentlemen, this is a clear case of conflict of interest.
In the same case Charles Owusu, after seizing the lumber, gives it to his cronies to make doors for onward sales in Accra.
It will suffice to inquire from the C.E.O of the Forestry Commission (Lawyer Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie ) the basis for the employment of Martin Bonye as a forestry task force coordinator. Is it for his qualification or political expediency?. If the latter is true, then we are doomed because, his activities are causing disaffection for the party.
Ever since we the executives in Western North petitioned against the C.E.O of Forestry Commissioner's irregular issuance of compartments to top NDC financiers, he has resorted to unnecessary vindictiveness with the sole aim of killing the party. The just ended operation to us, is a calculated attempt by Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie to kill the party's support base in order to ridicule the party's bigwigs in Western North. This can be attested to,by timber merchants within the western north.
To forestall retaliation from victims of this joint military task force operation, we the executives call for the following;
- A complete freeze and investigation into compartments awarded under Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie.
- Immediate end to this illegal operation.
- That,Martin Bonye and Charles Owusu should not continue to hold themselves as task force coordinators since they are in clear cases of conflict of interest.
- That, carpenters whose tools were seized by the military should be returned to them
- That, those who were brutalised should be compensated.
- That, the task force should declare full quantum of timber realised from their operations.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press gathered here today, we want it to be on record that, the operation of the joint military and forestry task force has strained the relationship and the goodwill we have with the people. As executives, we feel this is a calculated attempt to make our work difficult going into 2020 elections. We hereby call on party hierarchy and government to act now. Failure to pay heed to our plea, we as executives in western north, from polling station to constituency will collectively lay down our tools.
Sefwi Wiawso constituency secretary
Sefwi Akontombra constituency