Accra, The Forestry Commission (FC) is to train and equip about 1,000 field staff to help in the fight against the increasing wave of forest and wildlife crimes and to tackle illegal activities in protected forest reserves.
Mr Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, the Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, announced this at the closing ceremony of the capacity building and teamwork training for range supervisors and forest
In all, 210 staff, made up of 200 forest guards and 10 range supervisors participated in the two-week intensive training session at the Military Training Camp at Asutuare.
They went through weapon handling and jungle military training, general forestry management, effective patrols, offence detection, mapping, physical training, intelligence work and information
gathering, among others.
Mr Afriyie said the training was aimed at improving the physical and mental strength of the participants and to update their skills in weapon handling.
He said the field staffs were the pivot around which effective forest protection revolves, adding that it would be very difficult for them to work with outmoded weapons, which cannot match that of the illegal operators.
In recent times, there have been several reported cases of poachers, illegal loggers and miners either maiming or killing field staff of the Commission on patrol duties.
Mr Afriyie said these incidents occurred because the field staff did not have the requisite skills and or ammunition to defend themselves.
Henceforth, all these unfortunate events will become a thing of the past. No longer will staff lose their lives because they were protecting the nation’s natural resources, which is of high benefit to
the present and unborn generations, he said.
He pledged the Commission’s commitment to provide all frontline staff with the necessary training and equipment to enable them to carry out their mandated duties effectively.
Mr Afriyie expressed the hope that the skills they had acquired would put them on higher pedestal for effective forest protection
He cautioned the personnel against acts that could bring the name of the Commission into disrepute, and also expressed his appreciation to the Ghana Armed Forces for the collaboration to ensure that the Commission achieved its vision to leave the future generations with more valuable forest and wildlife resources.
Lt Colonel Danso Ankrah, Commanding Officer of the 64 Infantry Regiment, said the army was resolved to support the Forestry Commission to ensure the future sustainability of the country’s natural resources.
He urged the team to use the skills acquired to enhance performance in order to justify the huge investment made in them. The Participants were later presented with certificates.
Source: Ghana News Agency