Thursday, 13 February 2020

Now we know Ayade is ready to sanitize Timber business — Dealers express concerns

Ukorebi Esien | 13th February 2020 

Members of the Timber Dealers Association have expressed optimum satisfaction over the appointment of Odey Oyama as chairman anti-deforestation Taskforce, stating that his appointment signals the governor's willingness to sanitize the system.

This was made known during the sensitisation /Interactive tour embarked upon by the newly appointed Taskforce with relevant stakeholders in the forestry business. The tour which began from the northern part of the state last month was rounded up in Calabar with a meeting with Timber Dealers Association. The dealers lamented how illegal logging activities have crumbled their business as they are all ready and willing to partner with government to end illegal logging.

Speaking with TDN the President of Timber Dealers Association, Mr. Asuquo Ita Esq, said the meeting is historic as it has never happened before that government appointees in the sector meet with them as stakeholders. He noted that since 2008, this will be the greatest synergy between the dealers who are the major stakeholders and government. Mr. Ita revealed that as major stakeholders who have been in the forestry business for decades, no government will succeed in anti-deforestation without Timber Dealers, stating that Oyama's steps are in the right direction.

"No government will succeed in its anti-deforestation drive without timbers dealers because we are the root, the foundation of Timber Business and Mr. Odey Oyama has taken the right steps, by coming to synergies with us, this will be the greatest synergy of all times as we are ready to support him, fight illegal logging and ensure government earns it revenue in full" Mr. Ita reveals.

In his opinion, Mr. Udom Ikpeme, an elder in the Timber Dealers Association believes Oyama is the best man for the job, owing to his antecedent of integrity and experience as an environmentalist. The elder said the meeting have further validated his believe that Oyama is a candid person who can't be compromised. Ikpeme said, Oyama's willingness and preparedness to ensure he carries all stakeholders along, especially the forestry commission, is a great feat that will lead to his success in the job. Furthermore, he thanked the governor for painstakingly and carefully selecting Oyama for the job. 

"I have been hearing of his name, and I happen to have several friends from central. Everybody knows Oyama can't be bribed or bent, he is a very straightforward person, with the meeting of today, it is very clear that Oyama is a very good man and the best for the job. The governor has taken his time to select this young man as chairman, he is really fit for the job. He said. 

Another dealer in his speech had this to say, "Now that you have come, we have heaved a sigh of relief because the way you are going, we see transparency. We only pray God protects and keep you.
When we heard of you, we were all happy that you have come to streamline this business. You are very intelligent and we have heard of you. We are praying that you start work immediately and we will queue behind you." He said. 

In his remarks, the President of Akampka Timber Dealers Association, Mr. Edet Ita Otu, He noted that he attanded the meeting because he knows Oyama's antecedent, stating that Oyama's name is synonymous with transperancy and integrity. While praying that Oyama's Taskforce increase their search light in Akampka as it is the center of all Illegalities with over 50 illegal saw chains machine operators visiting the forest daily. Edet informed that the illegal logging business is controlled by a cartel who are mostly nonidegenes and not registered with Timber Dealers Association. He called on the Taskforce to urgently put an eye there and protect the remaining forest.

Speaking with newsmen, Oyama expressed happiness that the dealers are willing and ready to corporate with government, as they have provided several solutions to ending illegal logging and he will sit with his team to analyze all that has been discussed and then produce a position paper. 

Oyama furthet disclosed that one of the greatest achievement of the sensitisation and familiarization tour across the state is the extraction of commitment from the stakeholders and their willingness to commernce declaration, which he said will take place soon. 

Oyama informed that he is battle ready to ensure illegal loggers are out of business, stating that he can't be compromised and would arrest anybody who persist on bribing him. 

Pictures from the meeting: