The Forestry Commission (FC), in a bid to implement government’s directive to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, has over-exercised that directive – which has seen an embarrassment to several of its clients, mostly timbermen, foresters and other visitors.
On Wednesday, when a journalist called on the Commission to observe how it is receiving visitors and what precautionary measures it is taking to protect its staff, a security guard accosted him at the main entrance of the commission and asked at the top of his voice, “Are you a staff? Please no visitors are allowed entry. It is an order from above”.
When the reporter left and called back at 2.30pm, he saw several people at the gate of the Commission and many cars jammed at the entrance. When he enquired from some of them why they were behind the gate with some sitting on objects around, one of them who wanted to remain anonymous replied with anger: “What is happening at all? It is because of us that the Forestry Commission exists, and if anything at all it should give us priority; but look at our fate”.
He said he travelled from New Eduabiase in Ashanti Region to transact business with the Commission, and here he finds himself. According to the man, many other people from Akim-Oda, Kumasi, Sefwi, Bodi among others were stranded and had to leave to their respective destinations with uncertainty.
According to him, no provision was made at entrance of the gate for these numerous people. When the journalist visited some high-profile institutions earlier on Monday in Accra, at the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) head office sanitisers and other protective devices were at the reception for both workers and visitors alike.
Also, at the Ministry of Finance, there was an orderly line for workers and visitors who went through the hand-washing and sanitisation process before entering, because they realised they are dealing with the public and should not put any impediment on their way to transact their businesses.
According to sources, the Commission has procured enough sanitisers, gloves and other protective devices to contain the deadly disease, but nothing was seen at the entrance of the Commission.
Management of the Forestry Commission, led by Kwadwo Owusu Afriye, should as a matter of urgency review its stance in fighting this disease, so that their cherished clients and visitors who travel from far away to transact business with it are not disappointed.