The Government of Sierra Leone has declared the Otamba Kilimi National Park (OKNP) in the Tambaka Chiefdom, Karene District, a protected area but unfortunately there is rampant and indiscriminate logging of timber going on right now within the park and its buffer zone for the past four years removing most of the ‘Rosewood’ for export to China in spite of the fact that the National Protected Area authority (NPAA) has sent soldiers to stop all the illegal logging.

During a recent visit, this medium saw loggers all over the community Fintonia, Samaya and other places with trucks gathering logs transporting them to Freetown for onward shipment to China and as one local observed. “Loggers and logging are everywhere you go in the community. It is unbelievable as if government has forgotten the fact that Sierra Leone is the second most vulnerable country to climate change after Guinea Bissau.”

The former Resident Minister, North-West was fired for being too vocal in putting an end to this carnage of the country’s national park and he was replaced by Alhaji Alpha Khan. But recently, the current Minister lifted the ban and hundreds of people, lorries and trailers have been flooding into the OKNP to remove all the timber with impunity and reckless abandon.

This diabolical act is perpetrated by people in high places in collaboration with locals and foreigners and now the European Union funded project at OKNP wants to pull out although it is planning to engage government at the highest level to end this madness of deforestation.

According to a senior Western diplomat in Freetown, the signing of declarations /treaties/agreements to mitigate climate change and fooling the Kenyan wildlife experts to help revive the OKNP as an eco-tourism destination as well as the South Africans (both delegations were recently in the country) to bring investors for wildlife tourism development are all a mockery, highlighting that destruction of Sierra Leone’s environment is continuing n full swing and that deforestation in the North of the country is a true scenario that cannot be overstated and underestimated.

He furthered observed that loggers have been ruining the country for generations. He furthered highlighted the fact that, this is a total mockery of the recent Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland as satanic and senseless people have been damaging every forest with all their night before 2020. He furthered observed that, it is obvious that there will be no more deforestation in the country after 2039 simply because there won’t be any more trees standing and added that the timber trade is everywhere in the community transporting the logs to Freetown.

A concerned citizen asked: “What is the meaning of a national park, that is supposed to have the highest level of state protection and so therefore, absolutely no sort of logging or mining should take place there as is the case in serious countries? What is the government, especially the Environmental Protection Agency, NPAAA and the Ministry of Agriculture doing or are they turning a blind eye to this disastrous and imminent?”

He continued to ask: “what is the meaning of signing declarations/agreements/treaties to protect Sierra Leone’s environment when it is the complete opposite that is happening? Did the Resident Minister North-West consult the other government institutions/agencies before encouraging loggers to enter our national park? Serious desertification of the OKNP landscape is real and will leave the community very vulnerable to climate change and other natural disasters.”

Concluding, he appealed to government to honor its international obligations to climate change treaties and agreements signed to prevent devastating environmental consequences for the country.