In a statement, Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability, Dame Omua Alonge Oni-Okpaku, warned that bench millers who flout the ban will be blacklisted and their licences revoked.
According to her, “The ministry has observed with dismay that operators of Bench-Mills in the State have formed the habit of felling under-aged and under-girth trees and using them in the production of pallets. This irresponsible behaviour is decimating our already depleted forest resources.
“In order to stem this ugly trend, it is hereby announced for the information of the general public particularly operators of Bench-Mills in the state that a ban has been placed on the production of pallets outside the sawmills within the state with immediate effect. It is needless for me to emphasise that felling of under-aged and under-girth trees for any purpose remains an offence.”
She added, “In view of the above, any Bench-Mill operator that is found still producing pallets in the state would have his or her licence revoked and black-listed.”
Recall that the ministry has led a strong campaign against unscrupulous businessmen who engage in activities that harm the environment and compromise the state’s environmental sustainability drive for pecuniary gains.
The state recently suspended the exploitation of forest resources within and outside forest reserves in the state, after licences for tree logging in the state expired on June 30.
With the suspension, timber licensees, saw-millers and timber contractors were required to halt all forms of forest exploitation and logging activities within the forest reserves and ‘free areas’ of the state.
Similarly, the state government in august shut down burrow pits in the state, citing threat to the integrity of the environment, danger of flash floods and the need to avoid health hazards.